Tuesday, August 14, 2012
I have no idea what time I would have eventually woken up if the maid at the hotel hadn’t knocked on the door to see if she could clean the room at 11am.
Still it gave me an hour to slowly surface before check out.
Yesterday’s epic meant I was getting relatively close to the end now, so I could look forward to a couple of more relaxing days on the bike.
I set out after a late lunch for the relatively short ride to Gorinchem.
Mission control had informed me that the driving distance was around 63km, so I could take it easy.
I decided to follow the dijk on the north bank of the Rhine, and the first 10km was very pleasant and relaxing until I reached a roadblock. As I got closer I realised that a longish section of pathway was closed because of an organised bike race, and a couple of minutes later around 50 riders whizzed past to complete a lap.
I now had a bit of a dilemma, as I could see people being directed to wheel their bikes down the steep grassy bank and then along a bumpy dirt/grass track at the bottom of the dijk to avoid the closed section. I wasn’t desperately keen on that as the bike is quite heavy when fully loaded, and I was also trying to avoid any further off-road adventures in order to preserve the rear wheel.
I spotted another guy wheeling his bike along the side of the closed section, stepping back onto the gras verge each time the race came through.
If it was good enough for him it was good enough for me.
I nipped through the barriers when the race steward was looking the other way, and started making my way along the course stepping back and pulling my bike onto the grass each time the race passed through. It wasn’t until I got the other end and spotted him talking to a steward that I realised I had been following the lead of the official race photographer.
The rest of the ride passed without incident, although it did take me rather longer than I’d expected due to the distance along the dijk being about 20k longer than the official road route.
I arrived into Gorinchem with a bit more time to relax and enjoy the city than usual.
Distance, 83km (est)
Time, 4hrs, 50mins (4hrs 20mins ride time)
Total distance covered so far, 1582km
Gorinchem is a really lovely town.
It is as as picturesque as Amsterdam, but with virtually no tourists it just had a laid back friendly atmosphere. It is contained within historic walls which define its perimeter, and you can walk across it in just a few minutes.
I have distinct memories of cycling into the city in beautiful sunshine, to the sound of an acoustic guitar and singing from a canalside bar. So I quickly found a hotel and grabbed a cold beer before having dinner in the town square.
I’d been in Switzerland and Germany for so long I accidentally ordered a drink before dinner in German. I didn’t realise I had done it until the waiter replied in German.
I had keep up the pretence of being German for the rest of the meal.
I am not sure whether it worked.
I think the first bit might be a bit hilly
Day 2 – Chur to Rorschach and lunching in Lichtenstein
Day 3 – Rorschach to Shaffhausen and the need for professional help
Day 4 – Schaffausen to Basel and the end of the Swiss section
Day 6 – Strasbourg to Karlsruhe
Day 7 – Karlsruhe to Goddelau and more getting lost
Day 8 – Goddelau to Koblenz on a spoke and a prayer
Day 9 – Koblenz to Cologne, the day I hit the wall
Day 10 – moving North from Cologne
Day 11 – Nijmegen to Gorinchem, clogging it along the dijks
Day 12-13 Gronichem to Hoek van Holland and the end of the Rhine
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