After grabbing about 2 hours of sleep in Amsterdam (the first 2 in about 30+ hours) I caught an early train and headed south to Maastricht. After a minor mishap in which I got off the train about 4 stops too soon I was able to get to my destination where I would set up base for the next few days. I arrived too early to check into my room but was able to leave my luggage and bike at the hotel before catching a train to Valkenberg and the Amstel Gold Race.
Once I arrived in Valkenberg the atmosphere was quite electric, all of the bars and restaurants around the base of the Cauberg were packed with people eating and drinking and watching the race progress as it made it's way there for the 3 climbs of the Cauberg.
I walked up and down the climb a few times to determine the best location to watch the race pass. I missed the first climb due to the train mix up but decided upon a spot around the 350m to go for the 2nd pass. As the helicopters began to appear overheard you could feel the buzz in the crowd and a few moments later the breakaway group arrived followed shortly by the peleton.
After the riders passed nearly everyone went either up or down the climb in search of more drink and food. I opted for a burger and some frites from one of the little pubs along the route. I was keeping clear of the beer because the stomach was not feeling too good that day.
After a short while (maybe and hour and a half) it was time to head back up and secure a spot to watch the final fireworks.
The final group was lead by Schlek, with Cuenego, Valverde and a few others close at hand. Shortly after passing my spot, Schlek attacked and wasn't able to hold off Cuenego who took the win, followed by Schlek and Valverde. It was quite cool to see it unfold right in front of you after watching it year after year on TV.
After the peleton came by I made my way to the top of the climb to try to catch the podium. I was not able to make it in time for the winners but did catch the presentation of the Pro Tour jersey to Cuenego.
I made my way back down the climb and headed to the train station to make my way back to Maastricht and the bed that awaited me for some good sleep for the first time in almost 3 days.
Of course the first action upon checking into the hotel room was to put my bike together and get ready for the riding the following day.....