‘Spirits were high’

The annual CoNet Cycling tour is one of the highlights at CoNet. Recently it was time for the 2017 ride to be held. Forty cyclists, both CoNet-employees and clients, got on their race bikes on Saturday September 2nd, for a fast ride through the typical North-Holland landscape.

The bike fest started from CoNet’s HQ in Zaandam, housed in the distinctive former Verkade factory. It was clear from the start that these “seasoned pros” weren’t going to let anything to chance: coffee and cookies were wolfed down at lightning speed. This was of course to ward off the dreaded bonk before the first mile was even covered. After everyone suited up in their brand new CoNet kit, John Koot, the driving force behind the ride, spoke to the crowd on behalf of CoNet. His motivational speech got everyone stoked. Icing on the cake was the presence of ex-pro Johnny Hoogerland, affectionately nick-named the Beveland Bull, who was sporting the orange Roompot colors. The prospect of sharing the road with such a legend made everyone even more eager to go out there and brave the wind and rain.

Around ten o’clock the broom wagon, with CoNet’s very own Peter Zaaijer and Jelle Taams – aka the tour assistants – moved on out. After a few, what they described as, “minor navigational problems”, they were able to offer support to the riders, most of the time anyway. There was of course food and drink available from this car, but there were also crucial parts on board for any technical problems that could possibly arise. In order to keep these assistants busy and keen John Koot made sure there were some flats to fix. Once they got to the unfortunate rider, Peter would start changing the leaky tire in record time.

About halfway through everyone was ready for a pit stop. Café-restaurant “De Gouden Karper” in the picturesque village of Rustenburg was the spot where lost carbs were joyfully replenished. The local apple pie was more than welcome and spirits were high.  And they got even higher when John succeeded in convincing everyone that, according to ‘Buienradar’, they were going to just stay ahead of showers. And of course, when John tells you something, you believe him.

His credibility as a weather forecaster was put to a severe test not much later though. Not only did the riders have to contend with heavy showers, they even got a hailstorm for their trouble. That only encouraged these well-trained athletes to pick up the pace and harden the race some more. Luckily the rain didn’t last long and both Johnny’s (Koot and Hoogerland), with a little help from Mathieu and Johan, chased down gaps in front and back of the pack. However, these good deeds could not prevent Jan-Willem from going off the asphalt and ending up next to the road, surrounded by wildflowers. He lived to tell the tale and still made it to Zaandam with a little help from his friends.

Eventually almost everyone made it to the finish line, even Marco Ootes (with his flashy orange helmet), managed to stay with the second group, despite several unfortunate flats. Jurriaan, Robert and Arne also showed the strength to finish this ride with flying colors. In the end there was only one rider who was so worn out that he had to make it back to Zaandam in the broom wagon.

Once back in Zaandam there were plenty of things to talk about and the after party lasted quite some time. It goes without saying that there was plenty of food waiting for us: right there in CoNet’s cafeteria both the cyclists and everyone who helped out were treated to a generous buffet, courtesy of Lex.

We can look back upon a very successful CoNet Cycling Tour 2017. We want to thank everyone for participating and making it happen. We hope to see you again next year!