Saturday, December 24, 2011

Dark days and planning for spring

Up until the shortest day of the year, and with the general darkness of winter in northern Europe, it's hard to not get a little depressed. Also, the dutch weather of unpredictable, inconsistent rain and wind, does not help with the mood. For me, depression will mostly manifest by sleeping more than usual, going to bed earlier and earlier or, watching endless reruns of Buffy,  Angel, or Firefly. I think (hope) the bottom for me this year was when one night I fell asleep at 20:00 pm after watching several Lexx episodes that I had seen before. (If you aren't familiar, it's a show about a porn star, a canadian poofy-haired zombie, a robot head and a sleazy pilot living on a giant dragonfly spaceship. Yeah. Watching might be understandable, but re-watching??)

SO! Time to start planning better days ahead!

I signed up for ride this spring, The Swift-Joop Zoetermelk classic , the 75k. (Ha ha, what a name.)

Sadly, the eleven cities bicycle ride is already fully booked, so I'm to plan a trip of my own to Friesland. Maybe I'll follow the route... Organized rides are fun for motivation, but, truly, underplanned one or two day trip with only a destination in mind are the most fun!

For anyone interested, there are a few more organized rides on the calendar here.

And, I've started taking spin classes at the gym. Of course, it's nothing like being on a bicycle outside but at least I get some comfort from the motions. Plus, the class is in dutch so I'm learning words like sneller, sneller, sneller, zwarter, zwarter, zwarter.  It's quite challenging during the class, but I haven't been sore afterwards. I think all the riding I've done has made my muscles very tough for cycling, even if no one can tell by looking at me. Or I need to turn the knob.

For now, no more TV, I'm staying up until 9pm at least :) and I'm making plans for ride destinations in the New Year. This is definitely on my list. And of course, happily reading the blogs of people who keep going despite the cold, dark and rain.

(I'm still bicycle commuting to work everyday, that will never stop!)


  1. Zwarter? How can you be blacker than black?

  2. Did i mispell it? Heavier... Zwaarter?

  3. Frits, I was wondering the same thing.

    Great post and thanks for the links. I'm hoping to find myself in NL in May, but will definitely avoid the 11 cities area until after the event.

    BTW, I remember the first time I learned the word 'snel'. It was during a ski class at De Refter in Beek-Ubbergen. That place had an awesome indoor synthetic ski hill.

  4. Ah, zwaarder! I was confused at first as well.

    That Fietselfstedentocht sounds like quite an event, with 15 thousand people!

  5. Not so much porn star as sex toy. It's being half lizard that makes it kinky though.


    Yeah, the nights are long a boring here too. Take vitamin D, it'll help a bit. This far north you can't make any even if you lie out in the sun all day, which poses a bit of frostbite risk in any case.

    Frits - There are chemical engineers working on that very problem. First one with a blacker than black trench coat to market wins a prize.

  6. I'm sorry if I gave the impression of trying to be mean, "spijkers op laag water zoeken" :-). As I have never been to a spin class, and don't plan to either, I simply wondered what the instruction apart from sneller might be. But yes, zwaarder = more resistance sounds reasonable.

  7. I didn't take it as mean... It was spinning afterall, not spelling, and I always need help with my dutch... also, it sounds the same under duress. Zwarter, Zwaarder. :)
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  8. The way I ride in spin class, 'blacker' may be appropriate, as in "get closer to blacking out."

    Frits: according to Google, 'spijkers op laag water zoeken' translates as "nails at low tide search." Is there a vernacular translation that makes more sense?