After the crits I decided to take a day off the bike in Amsterdam with Emma Mackie, a fellow Aussie. We decided that while in Amsterdam we should actually do something educational so we chose the Van Gough Museum and the house of Anne Frank. This decision was followed by an hour trying to find the Van Gough Museum and figuring out the Tram system. Nonetheless, it was a most pleasant hour as we travelled on trams and walked through Amsterdam seeing all of the beautiful buildings and parks. We arrived at the Museum and had a good look at the artwork of Van Gough, which turned out to be a lot more diverse than I thought. After the Museum we took an hour-long tour of Anne Frank’s house. The house is actually devoid of any furniture, but has a lot of information about the Frank family and the war. The tour is really great and I’m sure it would have a big impact on all.
After all that education Emma and I decided we should head to the Red light district for a little more! We walked across town and entered a whole other world of alcohol, drugs, weirdos, sex shops, sex cinemas and loads more strange sights. We sat down at a pub and had a drink and people watched for a while. It was a really funny time as we watched spaced out people, strange looking people and things and played spot the Aussie. After that we headed back to the station and caught the train back to Amersfoort and both talked about the great time we had had and how awesome Amsterdam was. The Red light district is funny for obvious reasons but there is so much more there and you could easily spend many days there.
After our trip to Amsterdam I had a few days training in Amersfoort before going to the south of Holland for the Holland Hills race. For the last couple of weeks I wondered how true the title of the race would be as I really doubted there to be any hills at all in Holland. Fortunately, as we travelled to the scene of the race, landscape slowly became bumpy and as we got closer, there they were – Hills!
The next day I woke up and rode to the race start with the Aussie girls comprising my team. There were two juniors who would compete at Junior Worlds a week later and four senior girls, including myself. The race was 130 girls covering 130 km over 5 laps, 4 larger loops followed by a smaller loop. It started and for the first lap everything stayed together. It was clear that attacks would go during the race so front pack positioning was really important and trying to get past the AA Sports Drink team was also key. AA Sports drink is a Dutch team and they were all over the race from the beginning, they shut down any attacks their riders weren’t in. They also attacked from the beginning to force breaks and pretty much controlled the race.
During the early stages of the second lap a break went. I was positioned near the front of the peloton so I jumped across and got to the back of the group of 7 girls. Once there, we all started working together and started putting time into the group. Luckily there where two AA drinks riders in the lead group so the rest of the team where blocking and controlling the pack and any other would be attackers. Our group continued working together and putting time into the peloton for the remainder of the race. During the final lap, over a QOM (Queen of the Mountain) points climb two riders got away and I was left in a pack of six. As we kept riding, the teamwork started to flounder a little as girls started missing turns. We got to the final climb which was ridiculously steep and it seemed to go on forever, it felt like the Mt O’Reilly Climb in Brisbane and I thought I would nearly topple over as I was going so slow. Our group split and I was left with a Neurenburg rider to chase down two girls who had just dropped us. After working together we caught the two girls into the final straight and we all sprinted for the up hill finish. I placed 5th in the race, which was a great result in such a tough and well known race.
Emma and I in Amsterdam
Riding the Town Bike home after Amsterdam visit.
Racing at Holland Hills.