CaRott – day three
Day 3: Middleburg to Helleveltsluice (74km)
We slept well and woke up late feeling fully rested and ready to move on. We we still riding high from the elation of having made it all the way to Middleburg the following night. It was a bank holiday in Holland so morning scavenging only found a Turkish shop open.
The started the day with some carrots, what else would you expect. A nice touch from Jochem and perfectly on theme:
We also had onion (another re-occurring theme) omelette, pasta, frikadel, meatballs and some other things I forget. An interesting Dutch fact is that most houses have deep fat fryers…it made for a tasty breakfast.
At around 12.30 we got ready to go after listening to some tunes to get ourselves stoked…a big thanks to Jochem for letting us stay the night!
During the first two days of the trip Jesse and Jochem had both been telling us that the roads in Holland were heavenly, flat, smooth and that our pace would be better too. Again we were blessed with great weather and I had perfected my neck sun protection into something more inconspicuous and less rediculous-looking.
I think that it is reasonable to say that this country rocks. The cycleways are awesome and almost always amazingly smooth:
Once again, the North Sea Cycle route lived up to it’s name by being mainly by the sea…something which I really loved about this trip, although the strenuous pace meant that I was not able to even swim once! As we expected, the route was intersected by barrages or dykes of enormous scale.
When we weren’t going across dykes, we were in lush green countryside…
During the day the wind started to come up and fortunately our route meant that it wasn’t completely head-on. It was more of a sideways wind. I can really see that wind is a big deal in Holland (all the wind farms back this up!) and it could also have the potential to make longboarding very difficult or very easy depending on the direction. It was along a very straight and exposed part of the route that we got to experience what the trip could have been like…mega tiring, but in a way we were glad of the wind because it cooled us down.
It was pretty long and straight…
Lots of people were out enjoying the wind, either on kiteboards or windsurfing…it was cool to watch.
Then, at around 5pm we came across the first sign pointing towards our final destination. It was a strange feeling because all of a sudden there was an air of finality that came about. I guess that before we were concentrating of the immediate ‘here and now’ and now that we could see Rotterdam marked clearly on the signs we were looking ahead…still it was nice to finally be able to visualise our destination somewhat.
Looking back at these pictures, I still cannot get over how good the roads are in Holland. We were also really lucky with both the wind and the weather – it was pretty much perfect. The following picture just makes me want to be out there again…awesome.
We then took part in what is now a Dutch tradition that Jesse and Jochem started on a previous trip. Group picture infront of a random mirror somewhere:
With the sun starting to set and we had one more huge dyke to get across before reaching the mainland of Holland, it was beast and we had a nice downhill section at the end. The town of Hellevoetsluis is just behind the tree-line on the left:
We were pretty tired and it had been a really hot day with very little rest since we’d set off from Middleburg. Tim’s ankle, which he’d injured in the run up to the trip was starting to play up and we hadn’t eaten properly since the morning. Finally we made it to Hellevoetsluis:
About 100m afterward the road in town got pretty bad and it was clear that we weren’t in the mood to go very much further that day. As it was a bank holiday, not much was open, but still be managed to find yet another fast food joint where we quickly inhaled some sustenance.
After eating, Jesse asked us if we would mind him heading on 15km to Spijkenisse where he could stay with some friends…this was no problem for us and we agreed to meet there the next day and head into Rotterdam together. In the meantime we would stay in Hellevoetsluis.
I’d be planning to do some free-camping during the trip but it turned out that in Holland you can get fined pretty heavily (€90) if you’re caught. We opted for the easier option and stayed at a nice campsite…
it was pretty nice and meant we could have a wash and more importantly some beer! On Jochem’s recommendation we had a Belgian Palm beer and I can safely say that it’s a really good one…
We were all really pleased with out progress that day. Our average speed a leapt up from around 11kph mark in France and Belgium to 13.3kph over a total distance of 74km for the day…a pretty good achievement and proof that quality roads really make a difference.
Stay tuned for day four – the final day!