For the first time I participated an organized tour. It was organized by a famous Dutch bikegirl who tries to get all Dutch female on a bike. Young, old, slim, fat, sick, healthy, fast, slow... everybody. It was the kind of tour fanatic bikers seem to look down upon. It was mainly housewives and a small group op racers. I entered for that group, but it was only there that I heard helmets were required. So I got myself between the 'ordanairy' housewives, but I turned out not to be the only one with a fast bike there.
I had initial resistance to go there. I'm used to biking alone and I like that. I have no idea if I would like to join a biking company. I had never longed for it till now, it's only when I stop biking that I miss the company. When I reach my destination after hours of biking, or enter a strange cafe, gasstation or hostel, then my old fears creep up on me. The first time is the worst. That's one of the reasons I often go the same way and stay at the same place. I've been there before, so it is less frightening. With a back-up of being somewhere before -even for a short period of time- I can carefully push out frontiers. So this was strange to me too. First time in an organized tour, in a piece of Rotterdam I hardly ever come, between 5000 women I don't know... I feel very lonely and overwhelmed. It terrifies me. If I didn't love biking this much, I would have made up an excuse not to go. But I went. And I participated.
I had to search the startingpoint, because I couldn't find my map of Rotterdam. The tour began in Alexander, a piece of Rotterdam I'm not familiar with as I stated earlier. I didn't understand the organisation. Finally I let it go. I figured we would all be going the same way, regardless of the fact near which number I had parked my bike. I tried to pick up the goodybag. But it was free so you can probably imagine how crowded it was. There were more people pushing and jostling than between those 5000 bikes at the start of the tour. I went back when I started to get cold sweat. I knew if I had stayed longer I would go hyperventilate. Yeah I know, I'm a wuzzy, but I just can't handle crowds.
Then finally at 11 o'clock we were allowed to leave. I don't know if you can imagine 5000 woman to cross a startline at the same time, but even a snail would pass them with ease. So I started stepping, passing hundreds of woman. Then I crossed the line and I could just go biking. I still passed more women. Then I spotted three race ladies who were passing a lot of women too. So I begin to ride behind them. Unfortunately I was comfirmed in my prejudices. Racebikers aren't to happy if an unfamiliar persons joins their little company. They were looking down upon me. Very dirty looks and making nasty remarks. (And no, they were not my only experience during the tour.) So finally I passed those racers myself and they never gained on me.
After 35km we were being lead of the road for a lunchbreak. What? I came here to bike, not to eat! Piss off! I do not want to stand in line between strange women, eat lunch between strange women if I could sit in the sadle and step on the pedals. So I squeezed myself with bike between the fences and continued the route. There I was now biking between the group who had left first, the racers. All wearing helmets, except me.
The Lekdijk in western direction was a whole new experience. If you thought the hills of the Veluwe were a challenge, you might have underestimated the winds at the coast. They are tough and unpredictable. Biking in Gelderland is quite a task, but you know what you get and what you might expect out of it. But with the hard blasts of wind over the bold plains and the fall winds in the city with it's high buildings, you can even stagnate going down a steep hill. It was plodding and only just before I reached Rotterdam I got my pace of 26km/h back. Again behind a group of racebike ladies (I give shit about attitude sooo much!!!).
After 68km I reached the finish, and there were about 100 ladies who had gone before me. All on racebikes. I'm sooo good! |D I left immediately for a friend's birthday. I eat three cheesecakes and drank a lot of coffee. The ladies there thought it would be nice to participate next year. We shall see.
official km: 65km
counted km: 68,88km
total km that day: 101,16km
repeatable: I don't know. Not overly enthousiastic