Bart Brentjes was the “last of the titans” for this year and we really got what we deserved. After a year of nice weather and dry routes, we had the “perfect storm” to face this time.
We started, as usual, early, because me and Ernst decided last year to go for the 100 km race. Well, this was easier said then done … we had a full year of 100 km rounds to keep training for this distance. Bart and the rest (sorry Erik for not being able to participate) went for the 70 km. BBQ was arranged, as every year, at my place…
So, there we are, around 900 people decided to start for this distance, with the elite before us. That is a time race with group start meaning that small groups of 50 people are created that start each 5 minutes. The Bart Brentjes was also there, in the first group, and we followed him with trust :-).
There is that feeling of extra adrenaline that you get while you waiting and this keeps you a bit warm. I and Ernst were ready to face the cold and rain, and so we did. The first part of the race was quite crowded with a lot of people making it through the mud and separating me from Ernst for the rest of the race. So, how does one tackle such a race? I normally try to find somebody to follow that is a bit bellow my tempo. I keep this for a while and on the first climb I am getting the next “victim”. And so on.
Second part of the race got more interesting. I had no time to think anymore and, looking back, no real memories come at hand. Focus focus focus.. mud… rain…sweat… pain… Yep, pain too.. as the cramps started to feel coming. Luckily that this area of Nederland has so many “prikplantjes” that I can use ;-). Yep, I did my best to protect the environment and use just some of them.
The mud on the bike started to work against me.. it first makes the bike much heavier and secondly the bike becomes a full manual as any gear changes on my front switcher are done now by hand:-). I do remember some places where the rain was so hard that everybody was hiding after the first biker in the group… Well, I think that being that person is not a nice feeling. You are getting all the wind and rain and all the others behind you are, not to say dry, but at least dryer.
The final part went better while the rain went away. We had time again to build up our half centimeter of mud on us. It is also the easiest part of the race, with not too many climbs and quite some straight roads. Speed is building up and the body seems so cope with this last effort. And there we are, the final time check and race is done. 100 km..we done it again. As numbers, I had 5:00:00 on my timer and Ernst followed 10 minutes later to finish the 105 km and 1900 height meters. I know that Bart had a difficult race, with 2 flats. No problem, there is always a next year!