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23 Mar 2010

Fast velodrome race in Alkmaar

I wrote a preview about this event last Saturday.

We arrive so early at the velodrome that the staff refuses to let us in to the hall. It's only 12am and the track is reserved for us from 1pm to 5pm. So we enjoy the sunshine as long as the doors stay closed. Spring has really started now but we've decided long a go to race indoors today...

First thing I do when I'm in the velodrome is find a bench and unpack everything. Then it's time to 'drop the chain' and do a pre-ride check on Yivalté. You talk a bit about what has been going on lately and look around to see if there's anything new. Finally I get on the bike and do a few installation laps. Check the brakes, listen for strange sounds and shift through all nine gears. I then fiercely accelerate and enter the wooden track. Everything works and I feel good. The corners feel alright, the bumps haven't changed. Knowing that I should now be ready to race I leave the track.

As I lay there, waiting to start my 1000 metre time trail, there's the sound of air. I also feel a stream of air around my ankles. The rear tyre of the RazzFazz in front of me looks alright, it's my own front tyre that suddenly lost about 6 bar. I walk back to the bench where I quickly conclude that the problem is that the valve and tube have said goodbye to each other. Luckily, a racer from Elan has a spare tube in the right size, a narrow 406. It's nice that this happened just before my start and not when I'm diving into a corner with 55km/h on the speedo.

Anyway, my second attempt at doing the 1000 metre does succeed. Not that I set a new personal record, but it's reasonably fast and my strategy came out just right. Only problem was that I didn't know how to handle the first corner at a relative low speed. The start is only 10 metre before the corner, and I don't like that. Now I know how to deal with such a situation, just pedal really hard, but Sunday I lost a whole second in those first 100 metre. My time was 1:16:200.

It turned out that I qualified for the hares race! I didn't count on that, I expected to race with the turtles as usual. Luck is on my side again and I'm not the only little hare today. The fast woman and the Raptobike rider with whom I raced in Apeldoorn also made it to the fast group.

'Long John' did his first race since more than half a year and he chooses to ride with the turtles. I quickly strap my camera to his Optima Baron TT 2x26", just before he starts. He rides an impressive race and does an average of 45.5km/h. The video shows what went on behind him.

While the turtles have their race, I talk to one of the brains behind the 'Nadir'. It's always interesting to hear the thoughts the designer had when developing a bike and it helps me to improve my own design. (more about that later this week)

My own race is the a fast one. The start is good and the three little hares form a group. I try shake off the Rapto rider, but he manages to keep drafting, even when I overtake him with 53km/h. Alright then, he gets to ride along. Not only does he keep a nice pace when he's drafting behind 'Miss 2x26 M5LR', his wide shoulders create an easy draft for me. I check my heart rate every now and then and that is what it should be.

Our speed is around 46km/h most of the time. That changes when we hook up with the big hares. My first big sprint takes me far away from the other two. It's during these 10 minutes or so that I lap the Rapto three times. She however, is a tough one and only loses 11 seconds to me in the end. And to be honest, I couldn't keep up with her in the last two minutes. The whole story is told in the video. It's quite long, but worth your time.

I finish with a big smile. We have laughter, a few podium ceremonies and some quiet moments after the races. Everybody packs all there stuff again and leaves the velodrome. Some go home by car or van, others ride home or take the train. I think one Quest rider had done over 150km before the race and had at least 150km to go when he left.

It was an easy task for me. The drive home in the van took a little more than 2 hours. I then loaded my luggage into Yavixa again and headed home. My head was aching and I was very tired. But the 17km ride did feel pleasant. I snuggled in to the seat and had my collar up to my nose.

Links: results, photos, turtles video, hares video, previous blog item.


  1. Excellent post and excellent videos

  2. As a recumbent junkie I just love your videos and your blog.