Friday, February 29, 2008

Netherlands Fitness Skating

It is amazing this is my 17th posting on the Zephyr Adventures Blog and the first one about our Netherlands Skating Adventure.

We have been running our Netherlands skate tour since 1997. It was our very first tour location and the only location back in that first year. I still remember wondering whether the concept of skating through the Netherlands on inline skates would work. Eleven years later, the success has been proven. This Netherlands tour in 2008 will be our 25th skate tour in that country.

Let's face it. One of the reasons the Netherlands is such a great place for a skate tour is it is flat. The only hills we ever face there are when we go up and over a freeway on one of the small country roads or bike paths we use there. The bike paths are another reason the country is so perfect for skate touring. Every single town in the northern provinces where we skate are connected to each other by paved paths. The Dutch are living 21st century transportation methods.

However, I think when it comes down to it the reason the Netherlands tour is so popular with us is the culture. The Dutch are very open and warm, the landscapes are beautiful, and sitting on a hotel front porch with a beer after a long skate can make you feel you've hit life's zenith. I like that - hitting your zenith with Zephyr.

In 2008, we have made a few changes to our Netherlands tour. First off, we changed our route so we skate directly from Amsterdam to our first hotel in the countryside. This eliminates a shuttle and will also give our skaters, I am sure, a sense of major accomplishment the first day. We even get to use a ferry to cross a canal on our way out of the city.

Second, this tour is a Fitness Tour, designed for intermediate and better skaters. Some participants will be on racing skates but most will be just regular skaters who like to go long and steadily. If you have never skated in a peloton skating pack but would like to try, this is your opportunity.

Finally, we are working hard to get Canadian skating legend Barry Publow on the trip as a guest guide. Barry was originally signed up to join us but had to cancel last fall. In the interim, I made other plans and we now have two great Zephyr guides on this trip, one Dutch (Irene) and one American (Andrea). After hearing from Barry just this week he is now available again, I agreed with him he will be our third guide on the trip if we hit 17 participants. We are at nine now and I hope with Barry's planned participation we will hit 17 or more.

Barry skated for the Canadian national team and runs a speed skating website, More importantly, he is known as one of the best technicians in the skating world. If you want to learn how to double push, Barry is your guy. You'll have that opportunity on our Netherlands tour as Barry teaches formal clinics in the morning and gives you tips during the days of skating.

Come join us on our 25th skate tour in The Netherlands, June 21 through June 27.

1 comment:

Skating Coach said...

June 21 - perfect time for the (very limited) summer weather for skating in the Netherlands. A couple of absolute MUSTS on any Netherlands skate tour: A 'play' on the banked track in Heerde (host of European Senior and Junior Championships in recent years), and a skate through the forest of De Dellen on the 'Dellenweg' just minutes from the Heerde track. At the other end, a straightline, single-grade hillclimb that will challenge anyone, and a rewarding rollout down the other side onto the trail to 't Harde - home of Skatebond Nederland.