Photos by Michiel Maas
When people think of The Netherlands, it usually drums up visions of water-filled canals, windswept sand dunes, and a flat landscape dotted with cute little towns and windmills. With a closer look, you will find tucked in this landscape a vast network of farm and forest roads with endless bike paths and trails. The Netherlands is also known as a cycling nation, with upwards of over 60% of people commuting by bicycle as evident by the infrastructure for cyclists. True Grit has tapped into all of this to create a very popular series of events around their beloved Dutch nation like WTSHNN, Backroads, and one of our all-time favorite gravel events, Rock Solid.
The second edition brought together over 200 kindred souls on this cool and cloudy November day, with riders pedaling 90, 100, 120, or 150-kilometer routes all starting and finishing at the Rock City Brewery in Amersfoort. The warm smiles of the organizational team of Ruby and Gijs greeted the riders as the sun started to lighten the early morning sky, along with some fresh warm coffee. Appropriately dubbed “Not a family ride”, groups departed within an hour or so window from 9 to 10ish and navigated themselves through the small city out into the countryside, over a beautiful mix of country roads, forest paths, and even some super fun flowy single track that was perfectly suited to a gravel bike. Ruby and Gijs met up with riders at two stops along the way, with a spread of freshly pulled espresso shots and stroopwafels at the first and a much-appreciated cup of veggie broth and snacks at the second.
All riders found their way back home to Rock City for a ride capping Blonde especially brewed for Rock Solid and a platter of incredibly tasty smoked BBQ and smothered fries. So good, we ordered up seconds. It was a day well spent in the saddle and sharing stories afterward in the brewery with a host of great people. Big thanks go out to Ruby and Gijs for organizing Rock Solid and to Koen at Rock City for hosting us over the weekend.