Day 58: Jorrin Island
Today was the day on which Jorrin, Floris and I headed up to the North, to Jorrin island, near Den Helder. Looking at the weather, storms were predicted for the late afternoon, so we agreed upon an early start (which I missed by some 10 min, sorry guys). It was really nice to ride such a long distance with a bit of speed in mind. Even though, if we really wanted to push it, there was lots of potential for optimization: Shorter pulls on the front, staying more together on the hills, optimizing the track (we even had a severe gravel section for some time!). All in all, it was a great experience, complete with sleeping in a small shed on an island in Den Helder.
After a slowish start, we got into a good rhythm and did our second breakfast in the pancake house in Noordwijk, about 20km into the ride. Having lived in London for quite some time, Jorrin naturally ordered an English breakfast, which came complete with a homeopathic dose of beans.
In Zandvoort, there was again some kind of racing going on, we suspect the GT3 series. This first part of the route, until IJmuiden (note how “I” and “J” are both in capitals as they are pronounced as a diphthong), I knew pretty well. It is really nice, with mostly good asphalt, and if you have not seen this part of Holland, you would not necessarily believe that such a landscape can be part of “the flatlands”, with its high dunes, and dessert-like stripes. But all of it has a certain touch of being planned or “managed” to it.
That would change a bit as we got further north, where the dunes feel rougher. Unfortunately, so did the road, which for the most part was made out of these little red bricks that are also the facet of many Dutch houses. Nothing terrible to ride on like really bad cobbles, but annoying enough. I am sure they make you go 2km/h slower at least. As we more got onto the shoreline, the rough north with the man-made high dikes turned its rugged face to us, a landscape shaped by ebb and flow, by high winds, and the everlasting fight against the sea.
In the last 30km, Jorrin and Floris were absolutely drilling it on the flats
I did not have anything to eat with me in my jersey, so I had to call for a stop of the train. After the stop and an energy gel, I was sort-of okay again.
Then came the fun part: Drinking a fantastic beer at the Storm End pub. As Jorrin promised, the pub “Storm aan zee” is right at the end of the bike path. They serve their self-brewed dark beer, called “Langejaap Bier.” The Langejaap beer is named after the iconic red iron fire tower a couple hundred meters away from the pub. It (the beer) is really delicious and comes in half-liter servings. What a refreshing difference from the rest of Holland! After we finished the beer, the predicted storm came and we moved inside, where the somewhat peculiar interior design of “Storm aan zee” greeted us (a toilet paper roll fixed to the wall next to every table, to replace napkins?). Naturally, as seconds, I went for an equally good Radler. Since the pub served as the former base of the coast guard, they also have a shower in the toilet, which we used to refresh ourselves. I used toilet paper (see above) as a make-shift towel. It is always good to have a “local” with you (like Jorrin), as otherwise, I would not have set a foot in the pub. This is also where we separated from Floris, who did an excellent job on his longest tour thus far.
Unfortunately, the weather for tomorrow is predicted really bad, so it is unlikely we will actually be riding over the Afsluitdijk.