We love the diversity in our group. Male and female, Dutch and non-Dutch, roadies and fixies, racers and randonneurs, licensed and non-licensed, young and old; and it all gels together beautifully. Today was no different; we welcomed John from Portland, Oregon in our gruppetto; he recently moved from the USA to Amsterdam and was looking for a group to ride with. Marit added youth and energy; she leads the Tour de Femme women’s cycling group but showed that she can easily hang with the Jammers as well.
It was a smooth ride, just north of 100 km in distance, even-paced yet with a few bursts of acceleration. The Uithoorn-Ouderkerk stretch along Amstel river was a full throttle effort that fragmented the 11-man group. Tim took the sprint honors at the Amsterdam sign at café Klein Kalfje and then we coasted to the city for our coffee.
A 50 km bike ride that combines the beauty of the Waterland countryside with the glory of downtown Amsterdam. Small ring, low heart rate and high cadence, that’s a Saturday winter spin.
A Saturday solo spin with a downtown detour to take a picture at the Amsterdam Stadsschouwburg at the Leidseplein. A banner and a large image has been placed against the building to honor Nelson Mandela who passed away two days ago. It was from this balcony where Mandela addressed an enthusiastic crowd of 20,000 people during his Amsterdam visit on 16 June 1990. A small tribute to a large man.
Maarten shared these pics of the coffee & cake session after the ride. No GPS files for Casper but written notes and highlighted marked maps. Old school, nothing beats that.
Another stellar ride this Sunday morning with a 10 man crew. We saw a majestic sunrise that put an early Christmas glow on and around the Windjammers. The glow faded as the clouds rolled in and the roads got smaller and muddier. There is no getting around it; on days like these cleaning the bike is as much part of the routine as having a coffee after the ride.
At some point it was too much for Jan. Boy-scouting in unknown territory and riding over small manured country roads is not his thing. At Hoogmade, the ride’s most southern town and the day’s destination, he took the short way home. The rest followed captain Casper over his scheduled course, all prepared and marked out on small papers and old school maps. On schedule we made it back to Amsterdam where we photo-opped at the Museumplein skating rink. By then our Team FAST fixie rider Yvo had peeled off already. Was great to have another fixie racer in our group.
The Tour de France Grand Départ 2015 will take place in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Although more than 18 months away there was plenty of excitement with the media at the press event. De Winkel van Sinkel in downtown Utrecht hosted the session. This venue was originally the first ever department store in the Netherlands and opened its doors in 1839. Merchants and traders, that is what the Dutch are known for and this experience must have come in handy in the negotiations with the A.S.O., the Tour organizers.
The Utrecht mayor, Mr Aleid Wolfsen, had been courting the Tour de France general director Christian Prudhomme very heavily. On stage the two men were almost serenading each other; at length they complimented one and the other on the process of the Utrecht bid. Money talks but also the Dutch passion for the bike seemed to have played a significant role. Tour de France legends Jan Janssen, Joop Zoetemelk and Bernard Hinault shook hands and were photographed and current pro riders Bauke Mollema, Wilco Kelderman, Tom Veelers and Tom Dumoulin added a contemporary flavor.
Four cast iron female figures -the so-called caryatids-, manufactured in Britain and shipped to Utrecht back in 1837, were looking down on cycling’s fine fleur as they left the building. Back then the Utrecht locals nicknamed these caryatids the ‘British whores’. That factoid luckily did not come up in the presentation as it could have been misinterpreted by the Yorkshire Grand Départ 2014 committee. No, it was all happy smiles in Utrecht.
Faces in the crowd photo: Henk Theuns
Tim Krabbé treated the ten riders that showed up to a Thanksgiving Thursday ride. Where the Americans celebrate this day with a copious meal with a super-sized stuffed turkey as the centerpiece, our brave Windjammers celebrate with a 100 km bike ride topped off with a sweet bossche bol or modest piece of apple pie. We don’t mind a good meal yet we never pass up on a good ride either.
The roads were damp and muddied up from earlier rainfall and local farmers on tractors with wheels slightly wider and grippier than the Conti and Schwalbes the Jammers are rolling on. After three hours the group returned at CycleYou looking like a bunch of gritty miners. From helmet to bike, everything was caked in mud. Jan Derksen hates these conditions but he was there anyway and after a thorough bike cleaning session he was thankful as well.
Mind the gap. Not every bricklayer has the eye for precision or was the pavé washed out by all the heavy rainfall recently? Either way, the slight gap between the bricks caused a bit of chaos early into the ride. Oli and Jeroen got caught in the spacing and this created a sound like breaking carbon. It was not that bad; Oli got a scare and Jeroen walked away with two flat tires and scratched rims. Nothing mechanic Anno could not fix and after a lengthy stop we continued our push along the canal.
We had a long ride, four hours out and back, riding a steady pace and with all eleven riders doing their turn at the front. No climbing in the polders but the the straight-as-an-arrow IJweg in the Haarlemmermeerpolder got us to 168 meters of elevation over the 224 speed bumps from Nieuw Vennep to the planespotting area aptly named Bulderbos. This road must have the highest density of speed bumps in the country; every 50 meters a little rise. It is one way of slowing down the Windjammers. Annemijn did not mind; she had ‘bad legs’ today and was happy to follow wheels to get home safe and sound.
The Velodrome visit for the track meet Grand Prix Jan Derksen was too much for most. Olivier, Tim and Fred went in and the others rushed home for a shower, drinks, food and family. Next year we all ride the track?
Three degrees, the temperature in Celsius when we set out for our ride but also the name of the American trio that had a monster hit with “When Will I See You Again” some forty years ago. Not a question for the Windjammers; we see each other each Sunday morning and often at Tim’s Thursday as well. When the sun came out the three degrees became six degrees and that is how the six men rode this morning, a single file with each next rider on a slight angle with the guy in front of them. Smooth sailing.
Back-to-back world champion Gianni Bugno started his pro career as a stagiare at the Italian Atala-Omega team in 1986. Baby-faced Gianni was surrounded by veterans like Urs Freuler with facial hair that makes today’s Movember movement look old. This Atala bike -not one of Bugno’s pro days- was pictured in downtown Amsterdam. The cut through water bottles serving as mud guards or ‘ass-savers’ caught my eye; now that is creative recycling. The water bottle cap, color merchandized in red, serves as a clever connecting point with the frame. Amsterdam craftsmanship.