21 April 2007

Drentse 8 van Dwingelo

It’s always nice to see another area of the Netherlands, especially when the weather is so on your side. What is normally a very wet, cold and windy race this time of year this far north, is very different this time around. With not a drop of rain, low or no wind, and unseasonably high temperatures, the race was very different both for the riders, and for us working on the bikes. With short sleeves, no large outer jackets or leggings, the girls were smiling on the start line, this was not normal. But then again, this race was not normal, to split a good, three day stage race, into three, one day races was not normal, but then again, this is the north of Holland. Much the same as most countries, the north of Holland has it’s own identity, and most of the shit get flung it’s way. The people here are a little bit backward (not that you can tell by looking), the houses are different, most of the locals are farmers, and the fashions are localized. For me, it’s a very nice part of the country, not too populated, some very nice riding, both on the road and off. There are plenty of nice national forest parks, lots of green areas, and plenty of very cool houses to look at. One of the races goes right though the heart of an old village, it looks like it has been untouched for the last few centuries. With lots of thatched roofs, old fences, and old looking stables, this place looks amazing. I must come back as it’s swarming with people, moving from house to shed, with old crafts and wares to buy, it gives you a inside look at the nether Netherlands.

Nice day to ride to the race.

The first race started on Thursday, in town called Dwingaloo, sounds a bit Australian really, and looks a little bit as well, as there was a few wallabies in a cage not far from the start (seems every small town has a collection of these). There was a full lineup of teams for this race, with the third World Cup on the Saturday, most of them came a little early for this race as well. 28 teams of six at the start, all the major pro teams were there, plus a few of the national teams were present, it was looking good. The sun was up, and the wind was down, most of our gang were praying for bad weather, believe it or not. The race included some nice cobbled sections, some of them were pretty old, bumpy as hell, and covered in dust and shit. We were well prepared with our wheels from the Flanders race, low rims and big soft tyres. Some of the other teams were not so lucky, as on the start I saw many high carbon rims covered with tiny tyres, local knowledge must help today. The race was underway, drawing car number 5, was lucky, with the small streets winding their way through the small villages, I would have hated drawing car number 28. Not only would you not see any of the race, but if there was any problems, it would take a long time to get up to your rider.

One of these things is not like the other, guess which is mine.

Nothing much happened in the race, one rider got away for an hour or so, with a gap of 3 mins at one stage, no one was really interested in chasing. The lap was a figure of eight, with 6 laps. We would pass through the finish line 12 times in total. There was a good crowd to watch, the great thing is they wouldn’t have to go too far too see some good racing. With less than 25km to go, the lone rider was back in the group, then through the group, then spat out the back. A few other girls tried to escape, but the bunch was not going to let that happen, and chased them down every time. It was looking like a bunch sprint, and it was, so boring and almost predictable. I think we got a 10th or 11th place with Loes Makerink, with the rest of the team finishing safely in the bunch. Kiwi Jo Kiesanowski (Raleigh Lifeforce) was looking good with a close miss on the podium at 4th.

The nice Drente landscape, the bunch is together.

I got a few pics from the three races posted for you in the photo site.

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