After about 17 km I reached the River Maas near the Belgian village of Kessenich and followed the course of the river or the adjacent Julianakanaal south for another 32 km.
It was a little misty to begin with but warm sunshine soon prevailed.
Just after Kasteel Geulle my route took me away from the river and canal for the first ascent of the day to Hussenberg.
The climb was only 3 km but in places the gradient was 17.3%, more than enough to need the lowest gears on the bike and a lot of puff from me.
The hamlet of Hussenberg itself was unremarkable, just a few houses and the rather unusual chapel at the Ave Maria care centre for the elderly.
The descent into the village of Elsloo was rapid and very bumpy as the narrow cycle track dropped sharply through a tunnel formed by overhanging trees.
For the route homewards I needed to cross the River Mass and the canal again so my route took me over a long viaduct which I had ridden under on my outbound journey.
The cycle track runs alongside the motorway for a few kilometres before once again climbing up into the countryside of the Hoge Kempen National Park.
This huge nature reserve has a great network of dedicated cycle/pedestrian paths which I followed for over 25 km, stopping only for the occasional photograph.
Not far from home I stopped in Stramproy once more for the obligatory coffee & cherry pie with cream, containing a fraction of the calories I’ve burned today!