Gezwind Straat Fleet Street
31“You must be at the front and attend, attend, attend!!!” Harry van der Horst, Dutch Coach
Amazing Dutch 32facts:
- Bikes are the main means of transport in The Netherlands.
- Cars yield to bicycles – it’s the law!
- A first-time visiting cyclist could without any instrumentation and with precision log daily mileage. Distance signs dot every route.
- Races start fast, stay fast, end fast.
- Pro races can go single file into a headwind at 65kph…sustained!!
- Possible to be dropped in the first lap in a Dutch Kriterium.
- Probable to be dropped if not near the front when a race starts sheltered in town and heads to open country in a Dutch Klassik.
- Everything you heard about Dutch echelon superiority in wind – true.
- Six-hour ride likely: 4 hours heading west and 2 hours returning east.
- Possible to be safely motorpaced by a random stranger on a scooter.
- Training rides with upwards of 100 sprinting for signs, marshaled by coaches on bikes with whistles.
- Training, racing over time with no elevation change except “speed bumps” (called dijks) produce speed endurance never before imagined.
- After 6 months of Dutch racing, one’s climbing improves (ponder it.)
- Riders corner through a <90° turn seven abreast on wet cobblestones at 50kph without crashing.
- Laatste Ronde, translation – Final Lap- my favorite Dutch words.
- Today’s read is like a Dutch race – quick! See ya…tot ziens!
Prayer for Dutch Cycling
“Hasten, O God, to save me; O LORD, come quickly to help me!” 33Psalm 70:1
We are thankful for excellence in the skills and types of fitness specific to bike racing; and for skilled and able examples. We confess we sometimes envy others for their strengths, especially if ours lack. We pray for perseverance necessary to do the work which brings top end speed and ask blessing upon Dutch cycling.
Ponder Is there anyone I envy and why? Affirm I find a way to emulate and attain, rather than covet. Watch for an excellent way to get to the point, achieve the bottom line.
31As a holder of a Dutch racing license, I was assigned to a coaching area in 1995. Fortunately, I resided on the Belgian border inRoosendaal,Brabant, theterritory of Harry van der Horst, who worked with Dutch National women’s teams various years. For six patient months, he tried to explain to me, as best he could, how important it was that I not miss the winning move. It took that long to get the speed, the timing, and the awareness to be in the winning break! These breaks usually went right from the gun but knowing this didn’t make it much easier.
32Some of these facts can be substantiated. Others are deducted from personal suffering, and therefore are more like fun-facts according to my wonderful experiences racing in this extraordinary land. Competition was high-quality: Ingrid Haringa, called the Fastest Woman in the World at the time, and Leontien Van Moorsel to name a few. Dutch women’s technical ability at speed was impressive; many started racing as children. It IS possible to improve climbing ability on the flats – speed endurance is gained through effort to pedal against wind on flats, and not getting relief from downhills or breaks in speed caused by undulation. Top that with a block of uphill work during a mountain camp and see how well you climb with speed!
33The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society