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17 Aug 2010

Racing Rütenbrock, a weekend

I arrived at the Bentlage campsite just after eight in the evening, last Friday. This family has a key roll in the organization of the event. They also offer the great possibility of camping in their yard. I was on of the first to arrive. Later that day I was followed by, Frank in his Milan, Paulus in his Quest and Daniël in a Ford Transit. He'd brought his Go-one Evo R.
That thing is about a 'racy' as a velomobile can possibly be. Small, 18kg, a bit of suspension and an expected price of  €12.000 It couldn't be my only velomobile, my Mango is way more practical, comfortable and so on, but my god it's pretty. And ludicrously fast too.

Saturday morning started with a good breakfast. After that I just relaxed and loitered around a bit. Until the idea came to line up the four velomobiles to compare them.

At some point in time the moment came to ride to the small town of Rütenbrock, three kilometres from the campsite. With almost an hour to go, the start/finish area already was boiling with activities. I did the usual pre-race things with my Mango (transponder, number, remove pump and battery etc.) and met 3 other Mangoteers. David, H@rry and Wilfred would also give it a go at this fun track. Besides us four there where 52 other participants. I took the time to explore the track. The first lap I road slowly, looking for edges and bumps. The second lap was done at a slightly higher pace. All that data was stored in my memory and used during the fast lap.

All 56 started with an individual lap. Mine went pretty well. In fact, it went well enough for a 9th place. An average speed of 40.7kph. Fastest Mango and not far away from number eight.

After filling up the water bottle, and having lost some water, I arrived at the already packed grid. Right on time for the parade lap. During the parade lap I found a way to the front of the field. My start wasn't really good, but within a few laps things started to go fine. The corners went a lot better, or faster, than I'd expected. I gave room to the few that did overtake me. And the many I overtook gave so much room that I didn't lose much speed. One time however, it did became a little scary. In the video, around 5:00, I lift up the left wheel a lot higher than planned. The Quest that finished in front had a lot of luck around 5:50. I started to slow down after half an hour or so. The bouncing at 40kph became tiring, the corners still needed my full attention. Hitting the apexes lap after lap never gets boring. (Judy made the photo with Wilfred's camera)

I ended in 10th position, closely behind the blue and the yellow Quest. My average speed was slightly higher than 3 years ago when I raced the Fuego. I'm stronger now, so on a track like this, a 3-wheeled, (considered a disadvantage) Mango isn't much slower than my favourite  2-wheeled semi low racer.

After the racing I treated myself with fries and ice cream. The barbecue in yard of the Bentlages was, like always, a good one. I heard up a funny question. Well known rider A asked well known rider B if he races more often. Rider B being a former world record holder...

All the racing and eating had made me sleepy. I went to my tent for an hour of sleep. After that, the evening went on 'till after midnight. The next morning I had another good breakfast, and a puncture too. I didn't trust the rim tape anymore, so I added a layer of strong tape. Than it was time to say goodbye and head home.

You'll find the 22 photo's I made here. And here's the video I made:


  1. Peter, excellent write-up as usual. I noticed that you and David have partially enclosed the top of your wheel wells. Can you tell us about this?


  2. @Greg
    It's an experimental aerodynamic thing, cut from the material removed to make foot holes.

    It's simply attached with tape. They don't seem to affect the turning radius.
    H@rry gave a pair to me just before the races started.