Dutch Championships Cycling against the wind cancelled due to too strong wind 🙃

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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".

The Deltaworks

That special dam that you see the cyclists on at the above pictures is one of the "Deltawerken" ("Deltaworks").

Dutch championship Cycling Against the Wind Dutch championship Cycling Against the Wind

About 50% of all the landarea (!) in the Netherlands is situated below +1 meter of the regular sealevel. That level is called NAP which means Normaal Amsterdams Peil (the average regular sealevel in Amsterdam). So already the regular tide of +1.5mts NAP would flood 50+% of the country if a dike would break.

Dutch championship Cycling Against the Wind

In the lowest areas the water will raise to +6.74 meters if the watermanagement would fail.

Dutch championship Cycling Against the Wind

In 1953 the "Watersnood" disaster took place in the Netherlands : the dikes of the North Sea broke during a heavy storm in combination with a springtide. The politicians had been warned for this for 10+ years but all of them were positive to be able to beat avoid Murphy. At least until the next elections.

About 1835 persons, 20,000 cows, 2,000 horses, 12,000 pics, 3,000 sheep and goat, and 10's of thousands of chickens, goose, rabits, dogs and cats drowned in the 2 to 3 meters of water.

That was the reason to start the huge Deltawerken. All major big openings to the Northsea were going to be blocked by dams. After 5 years of research the Deltaworks project to protect Holland started in 1958 and was declared finished in 1997.

Dutch championship Cycling Against the Wind

This map shows you where the main Deltawerken dams are located. The Dutch championships Cycling Against the Wind takes place at the Oosterschelde dam. As you see the Westerschelde is not blocked, along it's entire length all dikes had to be upgraded. The reason for that are the huge seaships heading for the port of Antwerp in Belgium.

But now the climatechange starts taking it's toll already. The Deltaworks don't need an upgrade soon. But before the year 2050 some 17.000+ kms (!) of dutch inland dikes must be thouroughly inspected for cracks and stability and at least 1000 kms of them must be raised.

The problem with the climatechange is that there are more and more extremities. There are more and more short times with very much rain. And there are more and more long (and longer !) periods without any rain. That drought causes the dikes to crack since the soil is loosening it's structure if there is not enough water in it to keep it flexible.

An extra problem is that the dutch farmers grow an awfull lot of cattle and pigs. They export 75% but 0% of the related problems (which is common, ruining anything is always taxfree). So they also grow an awfull lot of mais. To be able to always work on their land with ie a regular 5 tons tractor and ie a combine harvester of 13 tons they have forced the authorities to lower the in-ground waterlevel to a very low level.

It is very easy for them to enforce that since it are those same farmers who choose the board of those same authorities. Citizens are also allowed to vote but don't realise what this actually is about, so don't vote. The way they arranged that implies that a maximum amount of rainwater is transported out of the soil by means of drainage. So it actually is transported as soon as possible to canals and rivers.

If you raise a dike it means it will also be wider. The so called dikehouses will then have to be removed there. There is no alternative (except Murphy ...) since Holland (which is the whole western part of about 50% of the Netherlands) is created below sealevel. The lowest point is at minus 5.60 mts below sealevel !

However that milestone must be a (another) joke then the dutch are (very) far behind concerning "Paris 2015" actions. The dutch cause 3x the average worldcitizen amount of CO2 and about 100x more then most Africans. With only some 8% renewable energy consumption in 2020 where the goal is to have 14% in 2021. The Netherlands are the number 25 of the 27 countries of the EU.

Even worse is they have adopted biomass to do (60% of) the "saving the planet" job. Biomass, you know, burning fullgrown trees now and being absolutely 100% positive to have new (real, compensating) trees in 20 to 50 years. Trees transported by superpoluting seaships from other continents by companies residing taxfree at the Cayman Islands.

Dutch championship Cycling Against the Wind

But to preserve the special character of the nautic nature in this huge area very special dams were engineered. They consist of a large row of doors that normally are open. The doors rest down at the bottom of the sea, waiting for what will eventually come. All the waterarea, the sealife and the related land is still a sealandscape and under the full influence of the salty water that comes in and leaves with every tide.

However the dams can not be passed by boats. So all traditional fishermens communities that were located inland had to move their boats plus infrastructures to newly created harbours just outside the dams.

Dutch championship Cycling Against the Wind

At times of danger the doors are pulled up from the seabed to close the openings and so block the storm. The towers you see here are the hydraulic cilinders that pull the doors up. Their height tells you how far up the doors raise.

Dutch championship Cycling Against the Wind

The constructions are massive ! Here you see the sets (left + right slidertower) that each hold one door.

Dutch championship Cycling Against the Wind Dutch championship Cycling Against the Wind

This exploded view shows you the basic construction of the dam. The cylists are racing at the (then closed) road where you now see that car riding. You can be sure the Wind will Hit you like a Hammer overthere.

And the second drawing makes clear what very special equipment was needed. Every vessel had to be custombuild for this unique job.

Dutch championship Cycling Against the Wind

Rotterdam had ofcourse the same problem but there the Maeslantkering was constructed.

Dutch championship Cycling Against the Wind

Two huge rounded dams (pontons) that can float over the water and then are sinked down. When troubles are over the water is pumped out again so they float up and are moved on land again. The doors are each hinged at a ballbearing that is a worldrecord wopping 10 meters in diameter.

Dutch championship Cycling Against the Wind

Already somewhere in the 1400's men started to build the first dikes. They needed new land to make a living on and thus also needed to get the water of of that new (low-) land. So here the mills of Kinderdijk were erected. They are a World Heritage site of the Unesco and it really is a stunning view. Cycling over there would be nice to do but timeconsuming.

Dutch championship Cycling Against the Wind

And this maps shows were and how much land was conquered to the sea during the ages.

But luckily you can visit my online YesFotos and YesGPS reportages here :

Dutch championship Cycling Against the Wind

So the first mills of Kinderdijk were erected. They are a World Heritage site of the Unesco and it is stunning to visit them. But cycling over there could be nice to do (it would !) but timeconsuming.

Dutch championship Cycling Against the Wind Along the river Zaan, and visiting the Zaanse Schans mills and Amsterdam
Dutch championship Cycling Against the Wind Along the river IJssel, near Zalk, Hattem and Kampen
Dutch championship Cycling Against the Wind The vessel "Laborieux" on the river IJssel
Dutch championship Cycling Against the Wind Along the rivers Oude IJssel and Rijn
Dutch championship Cycling Against the Wind The vessel "Volharding 5" in the port of Rotterdam

The Netherlands are worldfamous for there knowledge on watermanagement. The Deltaworks and the thousands of kilometers of dikes all over the inland make clear why that is. Plus the many thousands of waterpumps constantly pumping the leaked water back up into the rivers again.

Now climatechange will start ruling the situation budget ...