Monday, March 24, 2008

Crossing rivers - transforming into an ice cube

Desperately looking for any occasion to work on personal fitness ;-), I said yesterday to Janine and the kids that I would follow by bike - as they would visit (by car) friends of us in Tilburg (= 80 km's from Woerden). It's a nice route to bike through traditional Dutch scenery, crossing 3 rivers: the Lek, Merwede and Maas. I planned to cross the Lek by the bridge near Vianen, but as I passed "recreatieterrein Salmsteke"(btw: Salmsteke is an excellent starting point for kayaking on the Lek), I noticed the ferryboat to Ameide. This little ferry is only for pedestrians and bikers, with a limited service, and now because of Easter in duty. I never used this ferry before and enjoyed the river from a new perspective. A bargain: for 70 eurocents I had a private ferry - and probably I was the only user of the day.

When I left Woerden sun was shining, blue skies - after a start of the day with snow and showers of hail. I hoped for a good weather-window for 2,5 hours, checked "" (live satellite images of showers) and took the chance. It started promising and sun was still shining on the ferry on the Lek, but at the horizon dramatic skies arose. Few moments later the world looked totally different - like a dark winter-day...

It soon got colder, windier and wetter. On the ferry on the Maas (Capelse Veer) it was snowing. Slowly the feeling disappeared out of the extremities: first fingers and toes, then hands and feet, arms and legs. I kept a steady speed, but noticed I became less aware of the surroundings - this was no "flow" anymore but symptoms of hypothermia. After 2 hours biking through snow and hailstorms with temperatures around zero, dressed in Lycra tights, a Gore jacket and neoprene overshoes I had turned into some kind of icecube -> ready for a defrosting program in Tilburg.

Conclusion: I enjoyed the ride, but admit this wasn't a very sensible action! Instead a lesson on windchill, the effects of humidity, the importance of an adequate outfit (and of overestimation of oneself? ;-)!

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