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MTB Route Zeist

The official route near Zeist tends to get enthusiastic reviews on the MTBroutes.nl site, so  when I got the chance to ride it yesterday, I was intrigued to see what it would be like. The reviewers were right!  The creators have really done their best to make it as interesting and challenging as possible within the constraints of the landscape.  It is very twisty, and you really have to do your best and keep concentrating to stay on the path.  If your mind wanders elsewhere you can be sure that your bike will also end up elsewhere as well.  Even though the land is pretty flat, they have still managed to create enough local elevation difference to gives some challenging slopes.  It was very dry, having not rained for a weeks, so on some uphills my bike wheel just spun and I could only walk. And coming down was a constant challenge to focus and keep from slipping over.  It is on the 'Utrechtse Heuvelrug', which is a glacial moraine, which means that it does have some natural slopes, and also that it is a dry sandy forest.  I was having to focus so hard on my steering that I could not spend a lot of time looking at the forest (you cannot have everything), but it was clearly a nice forest, with patches lilly-of-the-valley next to the path and the distinctive shrill call of goldcrests above my head as I went through some pines. The other positive point was that it was not too crowded. There were lots of mountain bikers and other cyclists around when I started, so I feared the worst, but (probably aided by by the one-way recommendation (clockwise)), once on the track I only saw two other groups. It is very different from the more natural trails on the Veluwe, feeling very man-made, but very enjoyable.

MTB route Zeist

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Coffee break

If you look carefully at the photo below, you will see not only that the heather is still flowering in mid-September (not bad, seeing it was already in full bloom right at the beginning of August), but a large black cylinder in my bottle-holder.  Maybe not so remarkable if it was a water bottle, but it is not.  It is a flask full of hot coffee.  Now that the mornings are getting chillier (not that it was cold today, far from it), it is nice to have a coffee or tea to drink as well as water, and these brilliant flasks just fit into your bottle cage as if they were made for it (which they probably are). I had had one for about ten years, but it finally died on me, so I got a new one recently.  I was pleased to see that they had improved its few shortcomings; the lip is no longer as sharp, so it is more comfortable to drink from, and the body is made on one solid piece of metal, so the bottom cannot slip sideways (which is what happened on my old one).  They are also nicely painted rather than shiny steel, but whether that is a good idea for something designed to scrape in and out of a metal cage, we will have to see.

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Muddy MTB

Anyone would think it had been raining...

Mud

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Hot!

Yesterday it was 34 degrees C (94 deg F) in Wageningen.  This morning it was not quite so hot, about 26 degrees, but it still felt very warm when cycling hard; just look how hot my daughter looks in the photo. It also meant that some of the sandy patches were very loose and treacherous. The advantage was that, just like when it rains a bit, the woods were a lot emptier than you might expect for the time of year. And we saw a red squirrel, which is always nice.

Bennekomsebos

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Tour de Yorkshire

Ok, this is neither mountain bikes nor Wageningen, but Cavendish is not the only one with a mother in Harrogate

Tour de Yorkshire

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The Hell of Ede-Wageningen

Last Saturday it was the annual Jan Janssen Classic here in Wageningen, which for those of us who prefer to ride off-road means the 'Hell of Ede-Wageningen'. As usual there was a choice for 50 or 95 km, and as usual I did the 50. It was great, perfect weather, super organisation and a wonderful atmosphere. About 5000 cyclists turned up, of which 600 mountain bikers, which meant that more than normal of those who had signed up (and paid!) in advance did not come.  No one knows why, especially seeing the weather was perfect. Unfortunately parts of the route was not quite as nice as last year as the Gelderse Landschap and Ministry of Defence (landowners) were less cooperative than in previous years. But that was only a minor detail in what was a great ride.

Ginkelse Heide

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