Day 5 Amsterdam-Santiago Challenge June 2021

Here’s one for my American friends and supporters

I apologize up front for not adding relevant pictures. Today was a tough cookie. I needed all my energy and focus to make it to the city of Reims.

Arriving in Reims, I felt like I was shaken and stirred. 114 kilometers through tough roads and a hilly countryside. Google Maps makes you practice funny turns, into dirt roads, muddy and stoney tracks. And they suggest that it is a short cut to your destination. Hell No, it’s a short cut to Hell. I am happy my bike is kind of stiff and bold. It would not have survived these bumpy trails. Halfway I refused to follow Google Maps any more and stayed on main roads, which is probably as dangerous as any dirt track, because the French, they behave like actors in The Fast and the Furious. Their speed is staggering and frightening, although most of them respect bikers. They reduce speed and will not pass if they presume another car is approaching.

Anyways, like I said, it was a shitty day. It was grey, very grey. It was drizzling all morning, lots of fog and again, roads I will never ever enter again. At various point you find yourself driving through mud pools, somewhere in the middle of freaking nowhere. Luckily, I am staying in a B&B with a water hose in the garden. It took me half an hour to spray the dirt of my bike and bags. It is a total new experience for me. As you know I travel a lot and I love it. But, comparing this challenge with my Learning Experiences to your country, is comparing kissing a bear and kissing my new dog that goes by the name Cookie.

For those who suffer from anxiety sometimes. Since I left Amsterdam on bike, I suffer from it every single morning. Every night, like while I am writing this Blog, I have to sort out where I will stay tomorrow. In these COVID-times it is wise to make reservations. People might not allow you to stay at a camp site or B&B without reservations.

I pray every morning that my bike will not give up on me. Because of the fact that I gave away my Lucky Silver Dollar (LSD), my wife was so loving to give her LSD to me for the duration of this monster trip. I carry it with me in my bikers outfit every single day.

Today, in the spirit of Tom Hanks, I named my bike Wilson. At one moment I noticed I was talking to my bike. Asking it not to give up on me, whilst biking in the middle of nowhere. There was nobody else to talk too.

Every day I am worried about my three batteries. For the second day in a row, I had to use all three of them. If you think I am a though Cookie, I have to say you are wrong. My knees are so worn off, that I really need these batteries to pull me up a hill. And when using that Turbo-function out of 4 functions (Eco, Tour, Sport, Turbo), the energy level drops like crazy. So, a 120 kilometers per day is the max. And to be honest, I could not make more. Remember, I feel shaken and stirred today.

Anxiety. I guess I need it with every event that comes with my daily practices. Whether I am on a stage, presenting, or biking through the countryside. It’s good to raise your bar just a little more every single day. And, it gives you something to write about too.

So tomorrow is just 98 kilometers and that’s it. In the coming days I will be heading for the village Vézelay. It has a beautiful cathedral, and it is one of the starting points of the Trail to Santiago. I want and need their stamp in my Santiago Passport.

In the B&B in Reims my host Jangmi was waiting for me. A very kind young woman from Nepal. She is blessed because she will give birth to her first child this year. I asked her how she ended up in this city, coming from such a beautiful country. She pointed at a person that was lying on their couch. For Him and Love, she said.

I can’t think of any other reason to leave my home country

3 comments

    • Klopt Emile, dat zijn de echte helden! Ik hoop ik er onderweg ettelijke te ontmoeten. Vandaag besloten mijn kampeeruitrusting achter te laten. Het karretje waar alles in zit is te zwaar voor mijn knie(en), zelfs met ondersteuning. Verder met minimale bepakking. Ook dat is Santiago. De inzichten komen elke dag vanzelf.

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