Last year, the Amstel Gold was a bit of a solo effort. But at 12 strong this year, I think it can be said we thoroughly all enjoyed the challenge – many taking on the 125km with a few biting the bullet and going for the full 250km.
What with the weather being so unfriendly in what felt like a ‘forever-winter’, there were some doubters in the peleton as to how their legs were going to carry them across the course due to a lack of training. But we needn’t have feared, as the adrenaline and excitement of taking part in one of Holland’s longest standing cycle races kicked in and we were off (especially with the 30kmph tail wind in the first 25km!)
Now of course, it wouldn’t be a Cyclodam trip without a couple of hiccups and memories to take away with us. 2x car breakdowns – 1 on the way out, 1 on the way back; 1 pair of forgotten cycling shoes, 2 crashes, both thankfully nothing serious – a spectacular summersault from Roel into a muddy and wet ditch and Amavel being taken out from behind; getting lost on route and doing 270km instead of 250km (and still missing, come dinner time!); but ultimately, some fantastic weather (hurray to warm sunshine), some great cycling and a weekend we won’t forget thanks to our well earned medals.
As always, the route was well marked (well, the 250km is clearly questionable) and the road well managed thanks to the very appreciated marshalls, who with 17,000 participants on their bikes eager to get to the finish in the best time possible, stopped cars at junctions and made sure the race was not only safe but enjoyable too. As always, the free Amstel Beer and Tiger Balm massage was highly welcomed after some hard efforts up the final climbs of Sibbe and the Cauberg; as were the cocktails and dinner with our friends from Not Possibles. And for those that still had the legs – on to party with the locals of Valkenberg.
Chapeau to all who took part – here’s to next year!