Cold weather was likely to blame for the drop-outs
Translated by Thomas Ansell
With climate change meaning that it is ever-less likely that Friesland’s Elfstedentocht will take place each year, Stichting Friesland Beweegt had the excellent idea of combining the famous route with biking to create the Wensink WinterFiets Elfstedentocht.
Perhaps best-described as a tour, around 1,200 people joined in with the sixth edition that took place yesterday, ending at the Blokhuispoort cultural centre in Leeuwarden. “Around 200 participants dropped-out”, said organiser Eric Lansu, “it’s difficult to measure, but quite a few people found it too cold and so packed in the cycle early.” As reported by the Omrop Fryslan.
Previous editions have also seen inclement weather thin out the field of competitors, as Lansu says, “that was 2016. That year we also had awful weather and there were around 600 drop-outs. People tended to be a little better-prepared this time round.”
Whilst 1,200 people turned out for this edition, Lansu suggests that far more could turn out with good weather; “if it had been a beautiful spring day, we might have had 1,500 people, which is also our maximum”, he says.
In order to protect the hundreds of volunteers from the bad weather, many of the checkpoints were moved inside. “We couldn’t let our volunteers stand outside for hours and hours, and we need lots of volunteers in general. Therefore we’re really very thankful, because without them we couldn’t do this event”, said Lansu.
The WinterFiets Elfstedentocht finished at the Blokhuispoort, the re-conditioned former prison that is now an award-winning arts centre and library. The organisation behind the cycling tour also held a music competition to decide who would play at the finish line throughout the day; 9 bands appeared on stage to entertain crowds.
For more information, just visit the website of Stichting Friesland Bewegt.
Image via VisitFriesland.