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25 May 2012

The Hague, my favourite track

On the 13th of May we had the 1st race of the Dutch recumbent summer competition. Held at the challenging curvy track of Trias in The Hague. It takes me well over 3 hours to get there by train, but it's worth it.

The asphalt still is very good since it's renewal 3 years ago. You do have to look out for a small twig here and there. After 5 to 10 laps, I knew how to take the corners at a fast enough speed again. It is for races like this that I keep a Stelvio tire. Maybe it's just me, but I highly prefer that model for cornering over Duranos or Kojaks and even my daily Fuego tyre, the magnificent Minits Lite. Luckily, Nazca has a few 'NOS' in stock, I hope/thought/must check....

Anyway. These afternoons start with a single fast lap. And as far as I can remember, this was the first year it had a standing start. I wasn't completely confident in the corners yet, so I maybe lost 3kph more than necessary in the 3 most challenging corners.  Looking at the competition I'd say that my 4th place was satisfying.

Than the bigger question. How would the engine perform, after a 2 week cycling vacation, in a 45 minute criterium? Not bad at all. I could ride together with Jos for the 1st halve of the race, but I felt somewhat lightheaded. So I let him go and soon all instruments where in the green again. During an overtake in a wide 180 degrees righthander, I must have leaned in a tiny bit too much. That, or I rode over something. My front wheel shortly lost grip and slid to a few centimetres to the left. Scary. I managed, I kept it under control. But it did take a few laps to regain confidence.I finished with an average of 39.9kph. That felt quite good. Though it did became harder and harder to maintain a decent speed on the small elevations of the track. More stamina needed.

If one criterium isn't enough, Trias always has a 2nd, the other way around. Nearly did 'we' succeed in getting that one down to 30 minutes. But seconds before the start the race leader (valuable volounteer!) decided it would be the usual 45. Now that is just a little bit too much for me. I agreed with myself that I'd keep a decent pace, but would complete the day without feeling miserable. That ended up being my best '2nd criterium ever'. Not a high average, but not low either.

Thanks to my 4th place for the fast lap, I also became 4th overall. This pleasant little suprise was followed by Surinamese dinner in the front garden of a fellow 'bentrider's sister. An all new to me and delicious and nutritious combination of ingredients, that was a good start to a long evening with the nations railway company. Because of an accident, somewhere on the tracks, it all took an hour or so longer, and with less space to breath than desirable. 

Full result can be found here.

Within not too many days, there will be a video online from how I rode the track in the 2nd criterium.

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