Photos        Tineke Roest

Testimonial of Tineke Roest, Participant

The 100 Miles of Amsterdam will take place, whatever the weather conditions………


 
19 December 2010.
From 8 PM, at one minute intervals, we left the sandy floor of the Holland Horse Riding School in Amsterdam out into the night.


Amsterdam was a Winter Wonderland with its white canals, narrow snowy streets and Christmas decorations simply everywhere.

It was an incredible experience to drive through the city under these conditions: reversing down one-way streets, doing a three-point turn on a treacherously slippery canal bridge and finding ourselves stranded on the rails with rasping trams eagerly making their presence known.

We enjoyed those smiling faces, the looks of sheer amazement and the encouraging thumbs-up signs from passers-by.

We were soon well under way, driving through Amsterdam’s historic Jordaan district, past Dam Square and on to Central Station.

 
Then it was time to take the IJ Tunnel.

After a bit of a messy start in Amsterdam-Noord, we soon managed to match the dots and arrows on the map to the route we were supposed to be taking.

One we were out of town, roads became narrow country lanes (not the most ‘sensible’ way to go, according to one of the locals), taking us along the IJsselmeerdijk to Volendam: the illuminations turning its fishing harbour into a breathtaking enchanted fairytale. Then on to Edam, along the winding dijk road, between endless fields of snow on our left and the frozen waters of the IJsselmeer Lake to the right.
We must have looked a pretty sight with our rosy cheeks as we sat down out of the cold and wind for a nice mug of hot chocolate in the old Toll House at Waarder.

From here we drove on through the night, now taking some better, faster roads to get us through Midden Beemster, Graft and De Rijp to Noordeinde, where we were made welcome with bowls of hot thick pea soup.

 
Fifteen minutes later and we steered south again for Amsterdam. In spite of the snow we decided to enjoy the ride and to take the official route as much as possible. Other equipes opted for the fast way back (motorway) in order to remain eligible for the prizes.

 
Oh, how we enjoyed the rally that night! The peaceful landscape, with snow as far as the eye could see. Though it was mostly just the two of us, on some sections we enjoyed the fleeting company of the occasional oldtimer in front or behind. And with our poor little headlights doing overtime in the dark we were pleased that the bright full moon was out to lend us a hand.


It was three in the morning by the time we finally reached the Vondelpark and the finish, where we – way behind schedule – handed in our papers.

The Wolseley behaved itself admirably well in the snow. We gave it a little help some of the time: a timely jab on the accelerator here, a hefty push out of a snowdrift there, all part of the fun. Not once did we feel we had got ourselves into some sort of foolish or dangerous adventure. And thanks to all that second gear motoring, the reserve battery wasn’t used at all.

 
It may have been a long winter’s night, but for us by no means a cold one, thanks to the layers and layers of clothing we wore and the heatpacks too.

 

Map-reading wasn’t much fun, though. Just imagine: no torch, a bumpy ride and a pair of thick mittens to turn the pages. Oops, where’s the magnifying glass? And what happened to my pen? In spite of all this, we didn’t get lost for one moment anywhere along the route!

 
The 20 mile home journey from Amsterdam was actually the worst part of the whole experience, with the temperature well below freezing and mist banks looming up in the dark. We were making good progress using the main roads when, on the Drie Merenweg near Zwaanshoek, we ran out of petrol.

Not the safest of places for this to happen, so you can imagine the looks Arie got from other drivers as they flashed past him filling up again from the jerrycan.

We were only just on the move once more when the engine stopped yet again. We soon forgot about the cold this time as we pushed the car off the road to a safer place. Cleaned the jets, convinced a man on his way to work at 5 AM that we were actually quite sane and off we were on the last few kilometres to home.

 
The IJsselmeer Lake, the fields, the darkness, the full moon, the sound of roaring, rattling oldtimers, the excitement, the warm sense of comradeship we shared with the others, the puzzling, the driving, the pushing…

Completely exhausted we may have been at the end of all this, but what a beautiful experience, one we will never, ever forget!

 

Arie and Tineke Roest



 

 

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