A new sport: Tegenwindfietsen! Posted by Sten on Dec 12, 2014 in Culture
We kriehen sturm!
That the Dutch are crazy, you probably already know. However, that they invent a totally insane new sport from one day to another might still surprise you. Last year for the first time, and yesterday for the second time, the Dutch NK Tegenwindfietsen (Dutch Championship of cycling against the wind) was held. That thing that everybody hates when cycling, that stops you right there in the middle of the road, no matter how much you try to move forward… EXACTLY THAT has been used as the fundament of this new sport. And around 200 people embraced the challenge again this year.
The challenge seems easy: reach the other end of the Oosterscheldekering, one of the best known Delta Works facing the North Sea, first and you win. Though the “short” 9 kilometers (around 5.6 miles) is very tough against a Beaufort wind force 8. Additionally, specialized race bikes, gears, and handbrakes were all not allowed. The traditional omafiets – one gear, only a back-pedal brake, good old thick tires and the great design – is perfect for this race! This year was the first time a ploegentijdrit (team time trial) was also held, where you can fight the wind with 3 others in a team.
This combination of things – the wind, the competition, and of course the traditional bicycle – makes it a much greater challenge. The wind can grow so strong that you basically stand still. But you have to keep going, even if it is so hard to get the chain around: You cannot change gears!
For this reason, the Dutch wind is sometimes also called the Dutch mountain. The Netherlands is very flat, and thus there is no real elevation that could pose a challenge – but there is a mighty wind!
What’s the record?
Last year, the record was set at 17 minutes and 51 seconds by Bart Brentjens. That was impossible this year, as the wind was even stronger now. This year’s winner, Wouter Mesker finished with a time of 18 minutes and 6 seconds, which is still very fast! For the female participants, the best time was set by Nathalie Simoens at 22 minutes and 34 seconds. The best team in the ploegentijdrit was Gefeliciteerd!
Het goede doel
The profit made from the event is used for a good cause – the Jeugdsportfonds (Youth Sport Fund). Last year, 5000 euro was accumulated. Great event with a great cause, one could say!
See an interview with the initatior of Tegenwindfietsen in the video here.
Also check out the rules for the race. They are hilarious!
Would you try yourself in this challenge? Why (not)?
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