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23 Jun 2010

From dusk 'till dawn and more

The first time I tried to ride 300+km in one ride, something went wrong. Wrong food, horrible weather and a lack of fresh air made me feel sick and miserable during the last 75km. I made it, simply because that's the only way to get home but the final 75km took over 7 hours, including 2 hours sleep in Yavixa. Not really a success, to put it mildly, and that's why I wanted to do a 2nd attempt. This time I wouldn't have a goal to ride to like to social ride  attended back in September. The weather should be good, the route easy and I should get enough fresh air. Riding on 2 wheels or without foam cover should be ideal. Just me and Yavixa, on our own. No hurries, just enjoying the ride.

Monday morning the idea came up to go for it. I felt alright and following RAAM and seeing Barbara Buatois win probably was a good inspiration too. The nights are at their shortest this time of year, but you do need lights.  Fuego's headlight had some problems, so I'd be riding in the Mango. With a temperature below 10 degrees C, that wasn't such a bad situation anyway. I oiled her chains, I set the tyres to the right pressure. 6 bar in the Racers up front, just over 4 in the PM at the back. The original route I'd came up with was a little short, so I added a few loops to cross the 300km mark.

I started my ride at a quarter past 6, Tuesday evening. The first 123km to Almere was a route I'd done many times before. Fuel was a mixture of bananas, cookies, sirup waffles, sport drinks, some coffee, and a Snickers. Its was just past 11 when I approached the most Southern part of my ride. That's where Yavixa's odometer exceeded 25,000 kilometre.  From there one I went East to the, in the Dutch recumbent community well known, 'Vogelweg' (Bird road). A few longs stretches of proper cycle paths in a totally deserted landscape. No along running does to see like I saw between Lelystad and Almere. Only windmills and continuously working irrigation systems. The sky was clear and I felt like owning the road. Legs felt smooth. Velomobile was in her element.

Harderwijk was the point where I entered the more populated parts of this country again. Although everything is densly populated compared to the 'polder'. Hard work was being done on the complete infrastructure. Most of all very nice wide and smooth cycle paths. But since they weren't done yet, some signs where missing. My Garmin Dakota 20 guided me towards the next part of the route, the N302 road. I saw a fox on this on this stretch of road, and I'd never seen one of those before.

Near Apeldoorn I climbed a hill, quite a big one for Dutch standards, 98 metres above sea level. Than I raced downhill into Hoog Soeren and took a left turn to get back to Apeldoorn. It was on that fun, elevated and twisty stretch of cyclepath that I saw 2 wild boars. They saw something approaching at 40kph with a lot of light on it and ran into the forrest. Most of the time my speed was around 27kph. I averaged 25.1

Apeldoorn was followed by Zwolle. I successfully found my way around some roadwork. Two is the number of cars I saw on this 25km long road. By 4 in the morning, it wasn't that dark anymore. Zwolle was quickly crossed and I headed for Meppel. After more than 10 hours of riding, I was getting a little bored. That feeling went away quite fast. Low hanging fog drifting over from water to land gave a mysterious sight.

With just over an hour left to go I eventually did put the foam cover on. The legs where getting cold, and the power output started to suffer from that. I had my nose sticking out above the foam like a dog nose sticking out of a car window. Raising the temperature made the legs happy again. More revs, more power, more speed. Close to 30kph again with over 270km done felt very satisfying.

Sleepy and satisfied I was back home at 7:23am. I had reached my goal, there was 306 kilometre on the Cat-eye. A shower, a baguette, a pancake, some yoghurt. It was a welcome variation on 13 hours of cycling food. I slept 2 or so to day. Typing costs more energy than usual. There's a concert down town I want to attempt around 10 this evening. So the next night will be one with long, and deep sleep. Thursday brings some post to deliver and a visit to my local velomobile dealer, Ligfietsgarage Groningen. That's another 60km round trip :-)


  1. A great ride report. I'm glad to hear it went better than last time.

    Sounds like I'll see you at work tomorrow.

    BTW, are you still on your first chain in Yavixa?

  2. Chain number 1 indeed. I expect it to be good enough for another 25,000 kilometre.

  3. Beautiful pics and a great ride. Well done.

  4. Very Cool. Thanks for the report and splendid pictures.

  5. I was thinking... instead of our planned "Ronde van Nederland", maybe we could do one of these rides. I ever rode all night long (thinking AC/DC song now)... would be nice.

  6. Great idea. I recently thought up a route I wanted to do at night. Assen - Harlingen - Enkhuizen - Lelystad - Assen. It's about 340 kilometre or so. Midnight break at the Afsluitdijk :-)
    Some thinking and adjusting needs to be done first.