|It had been a while since I last saw the sea. Must be when I was in Cap Griz Nez a few years ago, for another Rode Lintjes Tocht. Not abnormal , the sea is not really where you expect a MOUNTAIN biker, or a wolf for that matter, to be. Still I can immensely enjoy the sight, sound , taste and smell of the sea. I've always felt a strange connection to the water, from long before I was a deepsea diver, the diving only strengthened the bonding.But that is another story, it even seems like another life at times.Lets concentrate on today. I got up at 6 and after a long drive arrived in Knokke where Peter DB , another member of the mountainbike society known as the 'Rode Lintjes' had given rendez-vous for a ride at the coastal regions of Belgium and nearby Holland.
4 more members where at the Natienlaan where the start was to be; Philip R, Kris B, Peter L and Gunther D. It was a mere 5 degrees C but the skies were clear when we set off. The moon was still in the western corner while the sun was trying to pierce its rays through some stray clouds at the eastern horizon. Peter led us through the awaking outskirts of Knokke into the "Koningsbos" . This was a forest area with lots of twisty sandy singletrack, ondulating up and down, the trails covered with wet leaves and the occasional root . The uphills were no problem with my 9kg bike (I chose the Hilset because of its lightness and lack of suspension making it an ideal bike for the beach) but I had to dismount a few times on some steep downhill. Having no suspension is not all its cracked up to be when the going gets though.
Still I enjoyed every bit of this amazing forest, all the twisting and turning left my head spinning and also got my heartrate into gear.. Peter led us towards the North Sea dike next, and after some picture-taking session in front of some horny looking surfer statue (Philip did the honors but Peter DB and myself also took along a small camera so we should have a lot of nice pictures) we took onto the beach.
It was a first for me, and I quickly learned that the closer to the water, the better the ride is. I did not fear the salty water, after all titanium doesn't corrode, so I stayed close to the still-receding sea. Every now and then it was as if someone was pulling on the brakes when we came into some softer sand. Our tyre tracks were sweating salty water out of the sand while we rode to the north ,the wind pushing us gently along.
Every now and then we encountered some deeper sand and there the trick was to either let some pressure out of your tyre or shift to a lighter speed and make the best of it. Sometimes it worked, sometimes you had to push like hell while only burying your tyres deeper into the sand. Good training, I can tell you !
When we arrived at 'Het Zwin' we took left into the dunes to round this Natural Bird Reserve . In the dunes I quickly learned that 'Green is your friend'.. Green meaning every bit of grass, moss or other vegetation where the sand was less loose and this meant the difference between riding and walking. Great stuff here, each one of us looking to stay as long a possible on the bike, sometimes having to dismount but quickly finding a more stable underground and biking along. After riding on the remnants of the Atlantikwall and past the entrance to 'Het Zwin' we arrived in Cadzand, the Netherlands, province of Zeeland. Here we once again took to the beach for another stretch of sand. Here the sand was alltogether of better quality, less loose. We passed a Nude Beach, pity it was too cold, and rode all the way to Breskens where we had a lunch break next to a Lighthouse.
After the break we had to think about getting back. The way back would be along trails on the top of the dike, with the wind now blowing into our faces. I felt strong so I took the lead along with Peter DB and Philip. The sun was out but the temperature was around 8 degrees C which made the ride back rather chilly. We had to hold back though because Peter L was having problems with the high tempo, dropping behind more than once. Along the way back, Peter DB had another few nice singletracks up his sleeve. All the while we could enjoy the view of the Schelde, the Sea , the birds which were a LOT quicker than we were (better CX I guess) while avoiding bikes and walkers . We arrived back in Knokke, a last bit of trail along the golf course and we were back at the start.
Ride Stats : 69K in 4h23 and 240 heightmeters (yes yes ! )
09-12-2006, 19:31 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf