Monday, June 20, 2005

Wachtendonk 600

What a weekend! I'm glad I did it, just to know what I can do. Whether I would have done again had I had I known how difficult it was to turn out is another matter. My enthusiasm from the Tournai 600 carried me through a tiring week during which I didn't really catch up on sleep. The buzz of completing my first 600 had me wanting more. I called the Michael Koth, who organises the brevet out of Wachtendonk and committed to come. On Wednesday I found out that there was a train strike affecting all trains in the Netherlands.

I should have seen this as a sign to take the weekend off. But I didn't, I managed to cadge a lift with a colleague to the general area of Wachtendonk and cycled the rest. The problem was that I didn't arrive at the start until midnight. This meant little sleep. I spent the next 40 hours in deficit, sleeping at every opportunity.

The brevet was really tough, going through the hilly Ardennes the entire way. My GPS reckoned just under 6000 metres gained. Cool!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Tournai 600

I decided to take a couple of days off, my first in over 6 months. Of course these days would be spent in the saddle. I'm not sure if I'd know what to do with time off spent anywhere else. On a fine Thursday evening I took a train to Mechelen, a small city just North of Brussels. I stayed at the fine, modern youth hostel there, having a room to myself. The following morning after a nice breakfast shared with a group of relaxed North Americans on a cycle trip I headed towards Tournai.

Tournai was lovely, though I think the weather Gods realised that I was about to leave Belgium, as the was a cold wind blowing (ed. the weather is always nice when I'm in Belgium). The youth hostel, though not modern was very friendly. I managed to get myself up nice and early and met the others at the cafe. From there it was all up and down to Fecamp. Along the way I had a nice chat with Jean-Pierre and Michel. The latter gave me all sorts of ideas about doing Diagonales de France. At 8pm or so we arrived in Fecamp where it was getting good and cold. It was a bit annoying that we'd arrived late and I didn't feel like going the final kilometre or so to check out the sea. Instead it was to a bar to eat a rather poor excuse for French cuisine. Anyway it was filling enough and no-one really wanted to waste time eating since we had to be up at 5am. The following morning I decided that I would go it alone and my legs felt great so I just steamed off. I spent the day thinking about more and more cycling! I arrived in good shape, though I got myself a bit lost towards the end which was very annoying. All in all a great day!