© Arie Kievit
Once a year, cyclists from all over the country gather to pedal head-on into 120 km/h gusts. How is this not yet classified as an Olympic Sport?
It was a crushing 8.5km course on the Storm Surge Barrier in the Netherlands that contestants had to cover this weekend at the annual Dutch Headwind Cycling Championships (NK Tegenwindfietsen).
The rules are simple: contestants ride a single-gear Gazelle bike from one end of the barrier to the other as fast as possible. They take it very serious, with the event receiving brand partnerships and extensive (inter)national media coverage.
While most Europeans sheltered ahead of battering storm Ciara, weather conditions turned out to be rather ideal for the championships. Unfortunately, the event had to be cancelled half way through, as the trucks transporting bikes back to the starting point were being toppled over by the storm. Half of the contestants were unable to depart.
Max de Jong and Lisa Scheenaard took the 2020 title, with times of 20:01 and 23:09 respectively.
The Dutch are famous for their extensive cycling in all-round weather conditions, but this is a rather loose interpretation of "a fresh breeze".