Tuesday flew to the Netherlands to attend a work reunion later. I had rented my brother's camper van for the week.
After family visits upon arrival, I drove north the next day. In the tiny town of Amerika was a campsite at the shore of the Noro beach.
In the afternoon, I rode 50 miles along a gravel route. I had scavenged the route from the UCI gravel website. The course will be used for the Veenhuizen UCI gravel race in July. It officially started in Veenhuizen, but I modified it to start near the campsite.
The ride was terrific and had various road surfaces: single track, jeep track, cobbles, sand, and mud. I even walked across a log over a giant mud puddle.
The next day I drove to the northwestern part of Holland. The plan was to camp near the dunes to ride on the beach. Since I was unable to secure a spot on any of the campsites near the beach, I found a site more inland.
So I decided to park the car near the route before going to the campsite. The route brought me first south to the town of Wijk aan Zee. Here I entered the beach and followed the shoreline north. I had planned my arrival to be as close as possible to low tide so there was a hard-packed beach to ride on. And 99% of the time, it was ridable. But occasionally I had to get off the bike when the sand got too soft and find the hard-packed sand.
The wind was not in my favor, normally, it comes from the southwest, but now it came from the northeast, which made it a little more challenging. After 11 miles on the beach, I reached the town of Egmond aan Zee. Here I took a break at a beach-side restaurant. I ordered some kibbeling (Fried fish) and a Radler (a 2% beer and lemonade mix).
It was a public holiday, so it was pretty busy and explained why getting a campsite was so challenging. After I finished my lunch, I concluded my ride through the dunes back to the camper van.
I stayed overnight at a campsite attached to a Marina in the town of Uitgeest. The next day, Friday, I had the reunion in the evening in Rotterdam. Before driving down, I did a quick 20-mile route in the area. I included a road in Zaankant that is famous for its windmills. Apparently, I was not the only one interested as there were whole groups of tourists.
In the late morning, I drove to Rotterdam, first to meet our friends Remco and Charlotte in Rotterdam. After lunch, Remco and I went for a ride into the "Green heart of Holland" and rode along the river the Rotte, where Rotterdam got its name.
The reunion, later in the evening, was fun, but since I did not find a campsite, I decided to sleep right where I had parked the campervan. The following day early, I drive south towards my next stop in Limburg. I stopped in Waalre, North-Brabant, to do a route I had found on gravelritten.nl.
The gravel route brought me to Belgium and came along the Saint Benedictus monastery, where they brewed beer, which I had to try. I had an Achel beer. After my ride, I drove to Limburg and stayed at a campsite in Hulsberg.
My cousin Wim joined me the next day for a gravel ride. Wim came up with the route, one of the most beautiful gravel routes I have ridden. It had hills and small little trails and seemed to exist in an alternative universe. There were stunning vistas and see-through panoramas.
The route brought us south towards Belgium and meandered back to our starting point, the Shimano Center in Valkenburg. We rode back to the campsite after our 2nd Vlaai (a local specialty pie). In total, 57 miles with 4,000ft of climbing not bad for flat Holland.
This week on Veloviewer.