4 July 2004
lightning, raind... and wind
It takes charactered
people to kick the IJsselmeerronde.
It's a yearly scooter event of 245 km long open to everyone who
wants to take part in it. Start 04.00 hours and it finishes somewere
in the late afternoon or evening. Here a small report of the 2004
It's 02.30 hours in the night when I step in my car and drive over
the former Seedyke called Kamperzeedijk to the city of Kampen in
the 'kop van Overijssel' as the locals call it. This delta area
of the river the IJssel is beautifull in daylight. But now in the
middle of the night it is an intimidating place to be. Every few
minutes lightning, thunder and rainshowers so extreem that vision
is very bad, even with the wipers in highest mode...
At the Plantage square a few diehards and an organising team 10
people arrived. Everyone is sheltering in a portal from the rain
and wind. The start is 100 meters from the new city bridge and is
witnessed by the night 'pub'public on the way home (or on exhange
route to another pub). 'What is going on?' most of them ask...
At 04.00 hours the offcial start should take place of the IJsselmeerronde
but the organisation decides to delay for a while because the rainshowers
are so extreme that people would be totaly wet in a second.
The clock ticks to 04.25 and people start to ask me what are we
going to do? It's still raining and the lightning and thunder trumbles
above city center (not to mention the strongs winds).
At 04.30 hours - despite the heavy rain - we decide to start. The
Dutch logic rules: the weather condition does not improve so there
is no reason to delay.
04.30 start it is. In the rain a small group of 'die hards' line
up for the start photo. After a fast start signal of they go into
the dark morning for 245 km extreme and mean scooter kilometers.
Rain and thunder accompany us into the Noord-Oostpolder and the
wind is so strong that video footage is impossible to make. Everything
moves, the car moves, the traffic signs move, the bridges move...
the hole world seems to shake. Only by putting the camera on the
asfalt it's possible to shoot some video images and still the image
After 2 hours the showers stop but the wind keeps attacking our
IJsselmeer footbikers. All morning head wind and tuff conditions.
Ironicly it seems that the hardest part has yet to come; Afsluitdijk
! = 32 km of horror and mental and physical trauma. On this killing
dyke after 120 km head winds our first member of our dreamteam has
to give up, it's Hermien Koers. She is not able to continue. At
the 155 km point we loose a second participant; 16 year old Roel
vd Velde has to quit his first IJsselmeer-edition attemp. Next year
new day, new chances.
Conditions are not getting better in the afternoon. The wind does
not drop in force and thunder has not left the lowlands yet. A positive
thing is that the 2004-organisation crew is well prepared in this
edition. A local fruit store sponsored lots of fruit for the participants
on route and a sportmassage team of two proffessionals joins the
caravancrew on route.
After 110 km Gerrit-Jan Beldman developed holes and blisters in
his feet (caused by the wet conditions from early start on). Kicking
with wet socks and shoes for hours and hours can do crazy things
to your feet. However quitting is not a word to found in Gerrit-Jan
vocabulary. He has finished this IJsselmeertour 5 times and this
6d time is gone be a fact too. (He also kicked the 235 km scooter
Elfstedentour 10 times). But in this extreme conditions everyone
seem to suffer, even for the crew members who guide the participants
have a hard time. It's a hard event.
I my self went back to Kampen at then of the morning to prepare
the finishline zone at
the fullcolour music festival.
Also there strong winds. We had to resque a guy who was trapped
underneeth an infostand which came down by the wind. Our finishtent
was ancered to 30 km of iron fences to prevent the liftof of our
NAF info tent into the sky. The 4 meter high inflatable Amnesty
candle was kept in the box. The thing would be blown immedeatly
of the field.
In the evening luckely 4 hereous made it to finish line at 245 km
in Kampen at the festival. Gerard van Oorschot, Marco Grevel, Martijn
Dashorst and Gerrit-Jan Beldman in a total endtime of
16 hours 15 minutes 32
It's not a record but according to the conditions a suberb time.
(The fastes times ever in IJsselmeerronde is
(2003 by Andre Visscher and Peet de Graaf) and the fastes ladies
time is 15:58;00
(2002 by Hermien Koers).
After the finish the our 4 footbikers got on the podium and received
the 2004 edition medal (which is coloured in gold). And a golden
achievement it was. Then off to the massage room, which was moved
to Gerben's living room, who lives couple of hundred meters from
finish line. During the event special attention is asked for Amnesty
International and money is razed for that humanright organisation.
All information in Dutch and English about the is great event can
found at the
IJssemeer website. This website contains info and photos of
(news source Nederlandse