Last month, for 10 days, I was living and training with Dutch windsurfer Lilian(NED171) in Den Haag. She is same age as me and has improved greatly this year. We are both on the light side in the women’s fleet, are both very competitive people and are working towards the next Olympic Games in Rio. With such similarities our coaches brought us together to see how we could push each other in preparation for the European Championships in a month’s time.
The Dutch sailing federation had an old 3-storey house about 15min walk from the sailing centre which top sporters could accommodate there at a cheap rate. It was situated right between the town centre and the beach. Laser sailors, windsurfers, beach volleyballers, athletes that had to train by the sea lived there. As I was there as a training partner for one of their top windsurfers, they were kind enough to fit me into their living room. I felt very much at home. It was nice to live in a house and not be stuck in hotel rooms for a while.
I had great training with Lilian in the North Sea. We had very good wind throughout the week, decent waves and some very strong current. We did a 117km bike ride from her family house to where we lived. It was mostly flat, well how mountainous could it be in the Netherlands? However the wind was a bit rough on us and we got a bit lost en route so it took us longer than expected. We also had to wait for bridges to come up and down as boats passed through. It was the longest ride I’ve done!
Lilian has a long board to travel short distances around, like going to the gym or to the supermarket. It was my first time on one but was really fun and easy to move around with. I got myself one too, hopefully to brush up my balance skills on the way! The best thing I love in the Netherlands, other than their bread & cheese, the flat and smooth contours that allows you to gaze upon vast distances, is their bicycle. One of the windsurfers lent me his bike. It makes you sit tall, got to stop with the pedals, and can still go pretty fast!