11. Dokkum

High snow mounds

11. Dokkum

High snow mounds

Listen Kees Bovée: “Now it was going nicely with the wind behind me and the turbo on. The trouble was that there were mounds of snow lying on the track here and there, that I noticed too late. With a speed of about 25 kilometres an hour you went into them and flopped down on the ice or in the snow like a hit duck. I could feel that in the meantime my knees had become very raw from falling down and that I had large grazes on my elbows.” Henk Gemser: “There was no desire whatsoever to get up again. You were deadbeat and really at the end of your tether. Well, what did we do then? Then we kicked each other with the point of our skates to get up again. There was no form of diplomacy whatsoever left in those discussions. You swore like hell at each other. You literally swore each other back on to the skates and then you went on again.” George Schweigmann: “We passed under a concrete bridge and then we saw that everything was clogged up with snow. We had to wade through at least one metre of thick snow. And it was still some twelve kilometres to Leeuwarden. Only by taking high steps through the snow, we managed to go further, skating was out of the question. Then a group of women came heading towards us and they said: “We’ve just come back and have helped a whole group of skaters on their way”. “Well”, we said, “you can help us too”. Then they gave us each an arm to lean on. Well, that’s fantastic of course! That made it much easier, because they stood in the snow with heavy shoes on, and we stood on wobbling knives. We didn’t dare to take them off, because if you take your skates off after all those hours, your feet get swollen and you’ll never get your skates back on again. Chatting away happily and leaning on the women’s arms, we stumbled on through the snow towards Oudkerk.” Photo: RP, winner of the tour, skates past Dokkum when it’s still light. Most tour skaters pass here in the dark.