Noord Holland Tour, February 2003

After 22km, 35 min.
The first picture shows one of the typical roads of the Tour, in this case in the small village of Grosthuizen. The remarkable traffic sign says: "Maximum speed 50 km/h, but less is permitted". Due to the fact that I still had a decent tour ahead of me, and considering these people's flexibility, I assumed that a bit faster is OK as well.

After 63km, 1h20
A short break on a parking bay alongside the road. To my surprise, it appeared to be "guarded" by a massive goose. I realise it's hard to see on the picture how big the animal is. When I drove off after a couple of minutes I had to pass it, attacked me! Luckily, it couldn't reach me fast enough and I could get by the goose safely.

After 73km, 1h40
Suddenly...a small ferry! This was the first time I realized I had come off the planned route. Apparently, I had missed a right turn a couple of kilometres back, so now I faced the old canal which runs through the whole province. I decided to take the ferry anyway (cost 0,50 euro).

After 73km, 1h43
The ferry's captain told me that a street sign at the other side of the canal would indicate which way to continue my trip. He was right. There it was. Well, this was easy: I came from Anna Paulowna and certainly didn't want to go back in the direction of Alkmaar. So, it was a right turn here.

After 87km, 2h15
Here's the most northern part of Noord Holland, where the Waddenzee begins. At low tide, the water disappears, and people can (and will!) make long walks practically on the bottom of the sea. Six hours later, at high tide, the water will have risen and reached the dyke on which the Elystar is parked.

After 117km, 3h05
The wind is blowing from the South. That was fine so far, but now I'm going in that direction, so the Ely slows down a bit. The roads through the big Wieringermeerpolder are out in the open. It's good to finally see the old fisherman's village of Medemblik. My right shoulder and right hand start aching a bit.

After 139km, 3h45
Another surprise! The village of De Goorn appears to be in carnival mood these days. I knew that it was common for some towns in the South of the Netherlands to get renamed during the "fifth season of the year", but I never guessed that a small village in Noord Holland would do the same. When I rode through De Goorn's only street I realised that this was probably their only carnival activity...there was absolutely nothing else going on there.

After 161km, 4h22
One more mile and I'm back home. The weather is still lovely, and I have enjoyed the trip alot. And I've learned about riding this type of trips, too: next time I will make at least one bigger break and have a cup of soup or similar at a local inn. Riding for more than four hours almost continuously is not the best thing you can do to your lowar back, your right shoulder and your ears.