14 September 2006

Rotterdam World Cup

Across the river from the start.

After the wet, wet, wet Holland ladies tour, we changed hotels and team overnight. Only two of the riders stayed with us, but the weather stayed, damn it. But to make things even better, the wind picked up to about 50km/hr and a bit more rain came down. Working into the early hours getting things ready, the other mechanics had trouble holding onto their bikes and equipment. Thinking ahead when parking your truck or van can really help, and some of them are just stupid, that’s all it can be. I parked out of the wind, around a corner, and for the life of me, being the last in the car park, I couldn’t believe my luck. It was so pleasant, no wind and no rain, with a 12 story hotel blocking the weather, what more could I ask for. Watching the other teams struggling with their tents and awnings in the morning, was great entertainment. Maybe my years making and flying kites has taught me well about wind, and living in Auckland has taught me well about rain. I was happy, working in the dry, windless area in the back of the truck, and when I popped my head out occasionally, there was so much action, tents and bikes flying in the air, frantic staff securing flapping awnings. I turned the music up and continued with work.

Waiting for the start, and the weather looks fine, but wait..

By the time we started, the wind had died a little, and the rain had stopped. But God was watching, cause as soon as we started the wind picked up and the rain came down. Now I have seen some wind in my day, I have been on mountains, travelled to weird countries all around the world in search of wind. But this was the strongest I have experienced for some time, gusts up to 75km/hr and constantly above 50km/hr. I watched in disbelief in the first 10km as a gust just blew over about 20 riders like dominos, unbelievable. Things got worse as the pace picked up to about 25km/hr into the wind (yep that was all they could do), a small group of 12 got away, lucky we had Tanja in there. The group rode away and the bunch just keep on getting blown over, more and more crashes meant that it really slowed down. I had put all the girls on low section rims for this race, all except one, and she would not let forget it as she was fighting all day not to get blown over.

We heard all sorts of stories afterwards of riders just getting picked up and blown off the road, blown into other riders, and just getting blown over. The front bunch was riding fast, and managed to get about 10 minutes on the bunch. It was a bunch finish along the waterfront of Rotterdam, and we managed to get a second place with Tanja, but first was out of reach. All the gang finished, and had all sorts of great stories to tell, I sighed a breath of air, as I was happy all the bikes and riders were safe home. Now for a day at home, in my own bed for a change. Next up the Euregio tour for four days, in the surrounds of Holland, Belgium and Germany. And some hills to race for a change.

A few more pics to come.

No comments: