The following is a dispatch from Night Train a Team Vitesse member headquartered in London:
Night Train and The Bear are back from their training session for Team Vitesse in Holland having ridden the roads that will be used by the Vuelta. Sadly they were not wearing the lovely green Vitesse jerseys, because they don't have them, but were supported by the team in every other way. They did rides between 30 and 100 k and discovered that riding a dead straight flat road into the wind requires endless re-calibration of the Happy Lucky SMEVEC 88. They also discovered that ice cream is excellent cycling fuel, and that the Dutch have an interesting twist on the game of "chicken" involving two pairs of riders approaching from opposite directions. Yikes, who will pull back??? Such excitement!
The intrepid duo made it from London to Amsterdam, via Gent and Antwerp, bike, train, boat, bike train. The resulting boat-lag required a couple of rest days in Amsterdam with friends, riding to Haarlem and Leiden, and then up to Den Helder. The idea was to island hop from there: Texel, Ameland, Terschelling, and back to the mainland. The SMEVEC 88 indicated that this route is entirely possible. It is possible to get to Texel, but that's it until Tuesday. They rode all around Texel where examples of wondrous Dutch engineering were plainly evident. Total bizarre paving of the seaside was bizarre but apparently necessary. Also sighted were plentiful gorgeous dunes. Once the realization that the SMEVEC 88 had led them down a garden path, they cycled back down the coast of North Holland the next day. There were gorgeous dunes (again) with endless brick cycle paths, and beautiful woods with crushed shell trails. The woods were welcome as it was around 30 degrees and the wind was against them. (No doubt they probably rued their decision to leave the Prosperous Contented Obstruction Blocking at home. ed).
Rest assured that this Dutch ride was monitored by Johan the Omniscient in that creepy way he has.