Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gerrie Knetemann Classic

Still catching up on blog posts, I've now settled in with a block of stilton, crackers and a pot of honey. Mmm.... not the classic combination of stilton, digestive biscuits and a glass of port but recently I've developed a real taste for honey with cheese. I guess most people know that honey works well with goat's cheese. However, for me a real revelation was tasting a nice mature pecorino with honey blended with truffle oil at my favourite local, Italian wine bar, Wijnbar Divino.

Anyway, I digress. This post is about cycling (a little). So some friends and I decided to enter a team into the Gerrie Knetemann Classic this year. A nice 75km tour around the green heart of Holland. Naturally this meant I needed a new race bike and all the accoutrements, yay :)

So after a bit of research and shopping around I organise a test ride on a Stevens Aspin way out on the other side of the water behind centraal station. Believe it or not, this is the first time I've taken a ferry over the Ij behind the train station (I've lived in Amsterdam for 8 years now!).

And look what's docked at the ferry terminal on the other side!
An old Russian submarine... cool! I think it's been there a while too. It's been tagged by a local artist :)
Underwater art?
Anyway, even though it's raining and it takes some convincing to get the shop to actually let me go out on the bike I make the purchase and get some new cycling gear so i look the part. Just have to pick up the bike the next day from the Haarlemmerstraat shop (couldn't take it right away as I was on my city bike - but i can walk to their other shop).

A little excited, I head up the next morning on foot and see the cutest thing in a shop window on the way.
Awwww :)
So sweet, a cat curled up, asleep on top of a big, fluffy teddy bear... in a shop window!! It's another gloomy, rainy day but it's hard not to smile at the world sometimes. I snapped a few photos for good measure and headed on to the bike shop.

All's good and I have the first proper go on my new ride on the 20km commute to the office. Definitely grinning now. For the rest of the week my commutes constitute training for race day.

I'd love to say that it went perfectly but the route was confusingly marked in some places and due to some wildly differing paces our team got a bit split up. A couple of us, thus, ended up taking a couple of wrong turns. At one point following the 100km course for a few kilometres. At the end we'd cycled 80km of a 75km race, oops!
Just about to start :)
Next up a great trip to the UK...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Catching up! Food fest and an important find on a treasure hunt.

Been a while since I posted anything here so figured it was time I got my finger out. It's been a few months of parties, sporting activities and general out-and-about-ness. I'd love to give a full rundown but I think its best to stick to the stuff that's safe for public consumption ;)

So for this post lets just cover Saturday September 4th. The day of the Haarlemmerstraat Food Festival and the Amsterdam Meetin group treasure hunt. A fine sunny day, I enjoyed a few tasty treats at the food festival in the morning. Some gourmet pizza, some tasty noodles from a Tibetan restaurant's stall and to top off my lunch a nice, light Pina Colada served in a fresh coconut.
Mmm, tasty!
So i'm walking home with my cocktail when I run into a colleague out with his kids - seriously I'm not usually wandering around amsterdam carrying cocktails with umbrellas and I'm sure this can't help with my reputation in the office!

The afternoon was fun too, catching up with amsterdam meetin group for a treasure hunt. Good folks and we came second in the final results - winning me a t-shirt. But for me a highlight was coming across this hotel entrance.
A sensible precaution.
Back in February, I was skiing with friends in Switzerland and staying in a very nice hotel between Gstaad and Saanen, the Alpine Lodge. We had a great stay with great food and wine (most of which we brought with us - but the hotel's cellar was also very good) and the half in-door, half out-door pool was a great way to relax after a day on the slopes. Less of a highlight though was when I walked into a glass partition in their games room, cutting my eyebrow resulting in some profuse bleeding and a quickly developing black eye. I was concerned that I might need to go to the hospital for stitches and headed for reception to seek a second opinion and a first aid kit. On explaining what had happened the first thing I was asked was, "Is the window damaged?"... Huh? No it wasn't! Anyway I shall send this picture to them with a note regarding correct health and safety procedures ;)

By the way I have a friend who works at Hotel V and by all accounts it's a very cool place!

So, next up is the Gerrie Knetemann Classic cycle race (ok, more of a tour than a race).