Luck was clearly not on our side today. I was out cycling with the club andbroken chain we had  one problem after another. First thing was that somone forgot to wake up, so we hung around a while getting cold waiting for him. Then someone's deraillier failed, so his gear shift stopped working |(temporarily), then my chain snapped (result of the problems below), and finally we had a crash with one person falling over and another one tumbing over them, causing severe bruising to her hands. So much for the volley ball match they were hoping to play soon. Oh yes, and we lost someone half way round.



It is incredibly dry in the woods. It is stll May but already drier than it would be at the end of a Corynephorus normal dry summer and the rainfall deficit is more than in the historic dry year of 1976. That means that the paths in the woods are filled with dry dust, and it is like cycling through powdery snow in places, with a need for similar techniques. There have been a lot of heathland fires as well. A lot of the nature areas are really drying out and this must be having a big impact on the wildlife. I think it must be for that reason that we had a woodpecker (photo!) in the garden yesterday, eating the peanuts and fighting off the sparrows - presumably less caterpillars and others insects than usual, as normally they only eat seeds and nuts in the winter. The dry weather must also mean that the paths in the woods are suffering more from erosion than usual, but in itself that is not necessary a bad thing as some of the specialities of the Veluwe are plants like Corynephorus (photo on the right) which need open sand. But as mountainbikers we should be careful not to go into the 'forbidden' areas round Wolfheze as the nature will be quite vulnerable there at the moment, and above all not to go of the paths in areas where there are delicate lichen communities.

Summer woodland

The photos on the right says it all.summer Sunny early summer, shrubs growing fast out over the tracks. Despite the thunderstorms of the last week, the ground is again dry and dusty, but it is not yet like May with the plants wilting.

Fresh Ferns

Sunshine shining through the fern leaves glistening with fresh rainfall. Beautiful!ferns

Heather Week

Last week it was 'Heideweek' (heather week) in Ede, complete with parade, the heather queen and so on, and so the heather is flowering magnifiicantly. Nice bullfinch on the heathland as well.heather

Sandy Hills

The slope on the left does not look much, and it is in fact only 12% gradient (still more than most hills round here),hill but it is in fact exceptionally difficult to cycle up. The surface is very loose sand, interrupted by roots at a variety of angles. That means that getting up in one go is virtually impossible, and even if I have to stop a couple of times on the way up to reorient myself as the back wheel spins, I still feel quite proud of myself for getting to the top. The hill is a glacial moraine (big heap of stones dumped by a glacier), with the slope cut by the river Rhine. It is only a couple of hundred metes long, but you can go up and down the moriane a number of time as you work your way along from West to East. Be careful on the downhills, as you can unexpectedly come across trees placed across the tracks. The location of the slope is shown as a waypoint on the GPS track.