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Marathon ready... Cycling counts as training right?

Noordwijk to Limmen

overcast 11 °C
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Friday 13 - Noordwijk to Limmen

We wake to an overcast and damp morning but at least it is not overly cold. Nel our Airbnb host sees us off and wishes us well for the marathon and our trip to Scotland.
The wind is picking up today with gusts of 50kmph... lucky they are tailwinds! We cycle along the North Sea coast and it's pure joy. Great bike paths and signage. In no time we hit the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen national park containing many animals including deer, horses, and oddly Scottish highland cows (coos)... so Kim is excited to see the coos.
The terrain changes from sand dunes to forest to wetlands then back. The path is undulating. Towards the end of the park we spot a herd of coos, they are huge and on either side of the path. We have never been so close and their horns are massive but they don't seem to pay much attention to us at all. We stop to admire them. We are not the only ones.
We are literally blown into IJmuiden. It's cold so we stop for a coffee, toilet stop and for me to check out the gears as I can't seem to change through the range we have. I do the best I can without getting out our tools but decide to keep in 3rd gear on the front for the rest of the day. Lucky its flat and less than 20kms to go!

Back on the bike we catch a ferry which is free for pedestrians and cyclists. It's not until we take off we realise its electric because it's so quiet - very cool! From the ferry its an easy 10km to our Airbnb in Limmen for the next 3 nights. We decided not to stay in Amsterdam as we wanted to store Polly and Pacman safely, and stay in a place with a kitchen so we can control what we eat before the 42.2km. That criteria was not easy to find but Kim found this one that ticked all of those boxes.

It takes us awhile to find where it is. It is number 31a. Google says that it is next to number 1 which is odd and Kim doesn't believe it, so we go down the road to number 31 to ask. they direct us back to next to number 1. We were only 15m away from it before but looking in every direction except where it is! Unpack, ride down the rode the buy groceries and then when we get back we close the blinds and put on the heater and get cosy.

Saturday 14 - Limmen - rest day - morning in Alkmaar

Turns out there is a parkrun in the next town less than 9kms away so of course we need to go! This will be Kim's 24th different parkun.
Coffee and banana and then we leave just before 8am. The remains of a pink sunrise grace the sky as we take off. It's a nice distraction from the cold! No surprise we are the first non-volunteers there! We chat to the Run Director as others arrive. It's an intimate event of 18. This parkrun only launched in June so their numbers are still small. It's nice as it's easier to chat with the locals, for us parkrun tourists. We are not the only tourists though, several from the UK including Simon from Aberdeen. Kim befriends him instantly and we agree to exchange details after the run at coffee. Since we are running the marathon tomorrow we have no intention of doing anything but walk today. Kim walks with the tailwalker who is also the Co Event Director, I join one of the other regular walkers.
It's a pretty course with 3 laps of the park. There's a little man made hill in the middle, so it's not a completely flat course. The locals who pass us all greet us warmly. Afterwards everyone goes for coffee at the local coffee shop. We spend the next nearly 2 hours chatting with our new parkrun friends! We plan to meet up with Simon at a parkrun in Aberdeen on the 4 November. We look forward to it!
We are one of the last to leave at 11:45am. Tim an expat from the UK is going our way so he cycles with us into Alkmaar. He heads home and we wander around the town. Alkmaar is famous for its cheese market which unfortunately finished last week for the year. Another good reason to return in warmer months! It's market day so people are everywhere but the town is lovely and we would love to wander more but it's too windy and cold. Buy a meat pie from the pieman for me and Kim gets some local cheese and then we cycle to Aldi before riding home.
Spend the afternoon in our cocoon resting, keeping warm and enjoying an early spaghetti bolognese for dinner - this is our standard pre-race dinner. It has always worked for us so don't plan to change it now! Lay out our clothes for the morning and we are in bed before 9pm.


Days cycled - 128
Rest days - 65
Distance cycled - 52.1km (6284.6km)
Ascent - 390m (Total 54500m)
Descent - 390m (Total 54500m)
Money Spent - $205 + $ 201 AUD (Total $23695 AUD)

Posted by darrenhough1974 00:00 Archived in Netherlands

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