14degrees off the beaten track
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July 23rd, 2007 | categorizilation: all categories,Belgium,The Netherlands (Holland)

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Today’s distance / 今日の走行距離: 60.5km
Average speed / 平均速度: 12.4km/h
Time on skateboard / 走行時間: 4h 46m
Total skateboarding distance to date / 今までスケボで走った距離: 612.38km (plus 428.5km)
Total cycling distance to date / 今まで自転車で走った距離: 11,800km

Sleeping spot in the woods on soft leaves near Deurne, The Netherlands

My sleep on the soft leaves was sweet. I woke to the sun shining through the leaves and birds chirping. Perfect.

The scenery for the most part of today was quintessential Holland.

Old windmill in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands Thatched roof in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands

Skating can be tough however in the villages. Annoying paving stones that look pretty, are not much fun for skating on. At times like this, it is neccesary to just knuckle down and trudge onwards at a slower pace.

And I suppose it is time to intorduce some of my new favourite foods, courtesy of this wonderful country.

Yummy apple spread in The Netherlands Caramel Stroopwafels from The Netherlands - far too moreish!

On the left is Apple Spread. On its own it tastes somewhat like malt molasses, but spread on bread, it is a moreish delight. I can easily polish off a whole loaf of bread if I have this wonderful goop to plaster on it.

On the right is something that I first experienced in Switzerland when working at the international outdoor education camps. Some teachers from The Netherlands brought some of these waffle things for us staff to taste, and I was hooked. They come in packs of 10. A small, heavy package filled with waffley caramelly wonder. It is extremely difficult not to eat more than three or four waffles in one go. Extreme self discipline is required not to over indulge.

As soon as I entered Belgium the rain started. It rained on and off all afternoon. Not nice.

Entering Belgium near Eersel, The Netherlands

Once again the border was a non-event. Non-existant even. The generous cycle paths disappeared also. The contrast between Belgium and The Netherlands was stark. Whereas the homes in The Netherlands were well kept and neat, the houses in Belgium were tatty. The roads were less cycle friendly. It was raining.

At Turnhout, I decided to get off the roads and head along the Dessel-Schoten Canal, a small canal leading west towards The Netherlands. Basically, this route is a direct route west that cuts across the north of Belgium.

Rain along the Dessel-Schoten Canal, Belgium

Towards early evening, the rain go worse, and just as I thought that I would be rained out, I spied an old building. That would be my shelter for the night.

On the phsycological warfare of human powered travel, I have made some adjustments. I no longer measure progress by distance. I now measure my progress by time. My daily goal now is to skate for five and a half hours. If I skate for more, good. Just so long as I make that time. Usually, this equates to at least 60km covered.

Thinking in terms of time rather than distance is a big advantage metally. To tell myself ‘I need to do 10km more’, is quite a big burden. But to tell myself to skate for another 1 hour, at whatever pace, slow or fast, carries much less burden.

So today I didn’t quite make my goal of five and a half hours. But I can live with that.

By 8pm I was cold, so got into my sleeping bag and tried to sleep. Sleep was long in coming, and when I eventually woke up at 5am the nex morning, I was ready to leave the cold empty building.

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    Permanent Link     Comments (5)

Comment by Tulip — July 27, 2007 @ 11:54 am | post a comment

really sorry to find out you've passed through my country already, you never gave a change to meet up…..

good luck!

Comment by Daniel N. Lang — July 27, 2007 @ 3:20 pm | post a comment

The idea with the time sounds great! My record has been at nearly 17 hours nearly non-stop cycling – was when I tried to get my Iran visa in Erzurum, Turkey, on Saturday.

Comment by Mum — July 28, 2007 @ 12:59 am | post a comment

Eline reckons that apple spread beats vegemite any day! She grew up on it.

Comment by Rob Thomson — July 28, 2007 @ 11:19 am | post a comment

Mum, I reckon Applestroop beats Vegemite any day too!

Comment by Rob Thomson — July 28, 2007 @ 11:19 am | post a comment

Tulip, are you here in Holland?

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