|Tuesday evening seemed to be an unusual time for an alley cat race, but this on was not supposed to be a usual one in the first place. A record of 7 local messengers had gathered on the Leidseplein by 7PM to race. I had promised that it would be a short race and everybody seemed to be delighted by this prospect - keeping in mind that it was the day of the Nationale Dodenherdenking (National Remembrance Day, which is held annually in memory of all those who have died since the outbreak of the Second World War) As you are expected to keep two minutes of silence at 8PM it didn't seem to be appropriate to be in the middle of a race at 8PM.
At ten past seven the racers had their manifestos and went off into the streets. There were three checkpoints, where the racers had to pick up pieces of information, which when combined correctly, would provide them with the coordinates of the fourth checkpoint. Except Jur everyvody went for the two downtown checkpoints first (The German Cultural Center and the office building of a shady German Company) . This not only turned out to cost them some time because that way the distance to cover was longer, they also went right into the silent procession which is part of the official memorial service and - out of respect and because of heavy police presence - were forced to cover a few extra blocks trying to evade it.
Meanwhile Jur - who had been at the German Consulate first - arrived at the fourthcheckpoint,(the German bookstore "die Weiße Rose" - named after a german resistance group, composed of young students) where everybody got 5 white roses and was told to bring them to the finish at Hekelveld.There the racers had to attach their roses to the memorial stone for the resistance-messenger who had been murdered by the Germans on may 4th 1945 (the day before the Netherlands were liberated). Jur was the first to do so with a comfortable 4 minute lead. Klaas came in 2nd with Gerrit beeing 3rd.
After everyone had laid down their roses it was time for the 2 minutes of silence. Being on this particular place those were two very special minutes for us. With the silence gone we spilled some sips of beer in tribute and decided that this had to become and annual event from now on. As envisaged it had indeed been a very special alley cat race.
1. Jur (in 24 minutes)
2. Klaas (Komeet) +4
3. Gerrit (de Versnelling) +5
4. Tyn (Komeet) +6
Maarten (de Versnelling) +6
5. Mookie (de Versnelling) +8
dnf. Franz (Fietsdienst)
thanks to Yvonne&Max