Pieter and Kerst after Dokkum
Friday 10 february 2012 will be in our memory forever! We skated the Elfstedentocht in a group of eight: Caspar Hermans, Pieter Booij, Dave Wendt, Ad Bakker, William Stokman, Kerst de Vries Ramon Smolders & Rob Faltin. South of Leeuwarden we started not before a short moment for the national anthem of Friesland performed by Rob Faltin on horn. Leaving almost with sunrise the Zwette (the way to Sneek) was quiet, only shared with some other groups with the same idea to do the Elfstedentocht today. It had a magical atmosphere.
We turned out to be a solid group and we maintained a pace that everyone could follow. Putting the strongest on top and the others to shelter behind them, we made it a successful and rewarding tour for everyone. We were supported by Jan de Vries who provided us coffee and food along the way in Stavoren, Bolsward and Franeker.
The ice was most of the time of excellent quality, and with the nice sunny weather we could experience the beauty of the Province of Friesland. After the finish we encountered the hospitality of the Friesian People: Fokke & Gerti offered us hot showers and a wonderful meal. Thank you guys so much for treating us so well.
Leaving in the morning
the medals that we got
It is a Dutch dream to skate the Elfstedentocht. A 200 kilometer tour through the province of Friesland. The Elfstedentocht is more exceptional that the Olympics because it can only be done when we have extreme winters in the Netherlands. We are already waiting since 1997 for the next one.
Last week a real cold winter kicked in and now everyone in Holland is waiting for the Elfstedentocht. Will it happen or not? Stok, Pieter, Dave and Ad skated this tour in 1997 a few days after the official one, with their college Iceskating instructors of Duosport Amsterdam. It was a hard but memorable day, and some great friendships were born during that tour. This year some of us hope to do the same.
Only Ad has the permission to to the official one, but the rest of us is not whining about missing out the lottery of not having a membership. We do it ourselves? Of course we'll go on another day than the official one. We don't want to be blackriders.
To do it ourselves brings more heroism. It is like the old days (hundred years ago) that a group of friends decided that they could do the tour including 11 cities. This year Stok, Caspar and Wouter are up for the challenge and they find support with the skating buddies of Stok: Kerst, Ramon and Robert.
If you want to it as well: use the route below. This is the official route (through Balk), not the one with possible detour around the Fluessen. Enjoy!
Snowy landscape near Overleek
Tuesday 7th of February was a wonderful day for ice skating in Waterland. Some of us (Caspar, Wouter, William, Kerst en Ramon) are preparing for the Elfstedentocht 200k. No not the official one. We will skate it another day when possible. As a preparation for this big tour we made two turns in Waterland, with some other loops which almost made 90k. The Northeastern wind made it amazingly cold and hard to make speed but after two stops at the wonderful tea-house near Overleek we got new energy to move on.
We are ready for the big tour!!!
We also have to thank all the volunteers for preparing the ice. Thank you guys.
Kerst, Caspar and Wouter at the teahouse in Overleek
Pieter showing his impeccable style at Broek in Waterland
Stok and Dave (with ropes for safety)
Winter finally arrived in Holland. We are waiting for the ice to be thick enough to hold us. Col Cycling with friends will become Ice Skating with Friends hopefully for more than a week. We will give it a go on friday. Some of us are even getting the 'Eleven City Track' (Elfstedentocht) fever: Will it come? We are already waiting for 14 years.
Ad, Pieter, Dave and Stok skated the 200k Elfstedentocht (together with their collegue iceskate-instructors of Duosport Amsterdam) end of february 1997. It was the beginning of a great friendship and one of the cornerstones of all our cycling activity that came much later.
Iceskating in nature is something magical for the Dutch. It is like nature sometimes offers you the key to enter the landscape in a completely different and beautiful way. Today in the east of Holland there were some lucky ones that found places to skate. Here is a beautiful video captured today that expresses in the best way possible the sensation of ice-skating in the Dutch Landscape.