Fighting for eight kilometers on an old-fashioned (1-speed fixy) bicycle
beating the storm on the Oosterschelde storm surge barrier.
Threehundred sports enthusiasts competed in the sixth edition of the Dutch Championships Cycling Against the Wind.
Storm Ciara presented the competitors windgusts of up to 130 kilometres per hour.
"This is the toughest edition ever", several participants said.
At 10 o'clock the first competitor started.
Max de Jong (25) from Giessenburg won last year and was also the strongest this year.
In 2018 he finished in 18.16 minutes and his goal was to be at least 17 seconds faster this year.
But this edition he needed two minutes more.
Teun Sweere finished second ahead of Martin Lukasse.
Every 30 seconds the next one of 200 individual competitors started.
All participants rode on the same bike: a men's bike without gears (a fixy)
of which you are only allowed to adjust the saddle height and the tirepressure.
At noon the team time trial started in which 20 teams were supposed to participate.
But at 13.45 hours this trial was stopped.
The wind had picked up to 100 kilometres per hour steadily and the situation had become too risky.
Even the timekeeping equipment was in danger to be blown away.
And fifteen of the twenty teams unfortunately couldn't start anyway.
The reason for that was that the storm even prevented several trucks to bring in the bikes.
Bart Brentjens, former Olympic champion mountain biking,
is still a record holder with a time of 17 minutes and 51 seconds in 2013.
That day the wind was blowing at about 30 kilometers per hour.
Now the event only takes place when the wind is at least 50 kilometers per hour.
The 2016 edition was the heaviest so far with winds of 80 kilometers per hour.
The organization was then about to cancel the event but competitors convinced the organisation to continue.
However this is not only about serious competing for all competitors.
When asked whether his preparations for the race had been tough one of the competitors explained :
"Yes, sure, I drank one less beer last evening".
But if you do make it to the podium you will ofcourse be extremely exhausted.
To have one more special situation to conquer : the medals are made of concrete ...
As they say : "A (wo)man has got to do what a (wo)man has got To Do".