I did not think we would actually connect but after taking 5 trains Dirk Mehring managed to reach Utrecht yesterday. It was impossible to find him on TT day with millions of people watching it on the course. I did however meet him at the Jaarbeurs near the finish and he joined us for dinner at our hosts. He then cycled to arranged accommodation and had maybe four and half hours sleep because his host was a tourmaker and was up at 05h30 again. He tells me he had a snooze in a park and awoke with ladies doing their early morning exercises near him.
I bade my hosts farewell early and rode to the start line.
We had a great vantage point because I had arrived at the start line by 10h15 to beat the crowds. I was so pleased that we did because very soon the crowds arrived.
I had arranged to meet Dirk at midday which we did and he joined us. We watched the lead up to the start with all the sponsors “caravan” throwing promotional goodies into the crowd.
Soon the riders started signing on and warming up right in front of us. Of course when they were called to the line they were right by us and I got to greet most of the Saffa riders.
After the start we raced across town to a point Dirk new about to see the riders again. Once they passed we made our way to a shop nearby to by provisions for the road and at around 15h30 set off in the direction of Huy, the finish for Monday’s stage.
It would prove to be no easy task as Huy was 228km away. A lot happened during the day including riding into and across gale force wind early on. Then we met a local named Bus, recently graduated and now on his way to Rome by bike. He rode with us and was most interesting to talk to.
We came across a Dollemansdag celebration and enjoyed the techno music from Dirks youth for a while and also some hot chip with mayonnaise.
Once we had reached a 100km at a good pace Dirk the novice camper was given the honour of choosing a camp spot. The spot was rather good and was just before Turnout and it was after 22h00 when we stopped.
I discovered that my two litre milk had leaked into my bag. So not only would I not have milk for the muesli breakfast I also would have no water having to rinse and clean the contents and bag. Plus the prospect of a very smelly bag for the rest of the tour.
No one was keen on cooking so after some peanuts and red wine and a good laugh at the photos taken during the day we collapsed in a heap and soon slept.
Tomorrow destination Huy!! If we make it……
Eugene on a bike somewhere in the world