So here we are, in Leidschendam, a suburb close to the centre of the Hague. By close, I mean a safe twenty minute commute in normal clothes … with minimal risk of being crushed by a skip lorry, disappearing down a pothole or having one’s possessions nicked by scum on stolen mopeds.
You know me, all those Facebook videos proclaiming to be in search of ‘the perfect headwind’….well, they are obviously fake…..there’s only so much headwind a man can take…..and only so much dribble a man can lose before severe dehydration sets in.
Therefore, in search of a bit of cover, The Wattmeister googled ‘fiets clubs in Leidschendam’ and was directed to Club TC de Tol who meet up on Sunday mornings at 09.00 in the Sterrenpark, situated about five minutes trundle from The Wattkasteel (Wattcastle).
There are four groups, A, B, C and D…. Group A being the fastest……they are so fast that they had departed before our English dignitary had arrived….and Group D being the slowest.
Group B welcomed The Wattmeister into the fold. The look was very pro. Everyone was wearing helmets and sunglasses, so it was difficult to ascertain the median age of the group, but our leader, Theo, had cycled 300 kms in the previous two days and he did not look a day younger than 65……. from the knees down.
We set off into a raging headwind…..an easterly, rated at gale force 6. Theo and another chap with mature looking elbows set a very reasonable pace considering the conditions.
Our biggest hazard was not motorised, but a compilation of other cyclists, runners, walkers, skaters and ducks who populated the immaculately smooth bike path…even though there are separate walking paths, running paths, skating paths and even water paths for the ducks….(they are called canals).
Despite this, with good communication to avoid any mishaps, our two mature leaders battled the ferocious gusts and led us out through the polders to a café in Boskoop where everyone removed their helmets and sunglasses to reveal their true selves.
Knock me down with a feather! Theo’s co-leader was a gentleman who goes by the name of Kees, and, FIFTY years ago, he was road race champion of South Holland. He is eighty one years old, let that sink in…. 81. And here he was, smashing it into the type of headwind that removes the need for a wet razor.
Theo and Kees proceeded to down a couple of Bailey’s liqueurs topped with whipped cream before leading us back to Leidschendam……Kees put in a strong attack crossing the A4 motorway bridge and was never seen again.
Touché! Father Time.