Haarlem to Utrecht

I woke up great in the morning at my parents’ apartment. I decided last minute to stay a night there, and with a pleasant surprise, saw my sister there as well. I decided to skate from the apartment in Diemen, to meet the crew in Vondelpark, Amsterdam. Here we were supposed to get free lunch, but apparently there was some miscommunication about that. We were still offered free drinks and some nacho chips with dip, which was super awesome! Here we also met a person with the disease that we are riding to fund research for. I gave the guy a handshake, even though the guy didn’t really have much of a hand to shake, as it was more like a stump. Before this, I really didn’t know what the disease was all about, but experiencing it first-hand is quite different. I sort of interviewed the guy before the rest of the group arrived to get an idea about the disease, the research being done, and how he himself is coping with it. You’ve got to be quite mentally tough to be able to cope with what he’s got because once you get into a depressive cycle, you won’t last long. Epidermolysis bullosa is the name of the disease. Look it up. The guy had one of the extreme cases of the disease, but he was already 33 which is quite old for someone with it. Respect for this guy for achieving what he has, including starting his own business, having been in a 4 year long relationship and being amazingly independent for his disability.

The group finally arrived and we stayed at the bar of StayOkay for a while. Drank some drinks, snacked on snacks, took some pictures, and then it was off to Utrecht.

The trip to Utrecht started off slow. The roads and weather were crap, we took a lot of breaks, and the tempo was down. The last two were probably the cause of the added estrogen in the group, created by Anna, who joined the group the night before. Terry didn’t seem to mind the fact that there was somebody finally going at a pace he didn’t have trouble keeping up with. But that was about to change…

We went downhilling off a bridge with a really awesome slope; however, there happened to be a traffic light at the end of it. Footbraking is hell at high speeds, and speed checks are just beyond our current skill capacity. Even though most of us braked somehow in the end, we realized something happened when I did an “Everything ok?” sign and got a “Not ok” back. We came to the spot and apparently Anna lost her balance when breaking and fell. A few minor injuries, but we patched her up best we could and waited at a tank station for the car to arrive. After this, we picked up the pace a little bit… Just kidding. We picked up the pace a lot, because we don’t f*ck around after lunch. We were pushing insane fast. I checked back if anyone was falling behind, but we were as tight as four peas in a pod. After a few kilometers of hardcore pushing, we took a short break at a bus stop, to drink some water, and to catch our breath. Me, Elias and Joost were happy about the new pace but Terry was pissed. He was having the hardest time keeping up, but he was determined to stay with it. Nobody told him to go at our pace, but he was more or less like, “I’m going to keep up with you SOBs no matter what.” which was funny to see. He could do it. He just had to find a way to channel his anger into the asphalt. After some more short breaks and rocket speed pushing, we finally made it to the campsite. Here we basically followed our usual routine of setting up tents, playing some card games, eating and sleeping. It poured that night, and we dreaded skating through the predicted weather conditions the next day…

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