The weather took its toll on international cycling over the weekend. In Australia, winds and rain canceled much of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup stop. And in Belgium, Storm Ciara canceled the Superprestige Merksplas with its hurricane-force winds, forcing star riders to end their season and ride home.
In the Netherlands, however, a small group of cyclists celebrated Mother Nature’s gift of gusts.
The Dutch “Headwind Cycling Championships” or “Cycling Against the Wind National Championships” were held on a 9km-long dam along the coast of the Zeeland province. The event, much like a big wave surfing contest, was in a holding pattern for ideal conditions, and Storm Ciara presented the perfect opportunity.
Athletes were required to ride singlespeed bikes without drop handlebars or carbon fiber, on an 8.5km course with massive headwinds.
Waiting for them at the finish? A number of “Vomit Buckets.”
Many resorted to a position that would make former hour record holder Graeme Obree proud.
Napret deel 2 (foto’s: Arie Kievit) ❤️ 2/2 pic.twitter.com/JCM5FuVlIA
— NK Tegenwindfietsen (@NKTegenwind) February 10, 2020
The event came about because in the pancake-flat Netherlands, the wind offers a chance to simulate alpine climbing stages of Grand Tours.
— NK Tegenwindfietsen (@NKTegenwind) February 9, 2020
The event made international news, both in Europe and mainstream news in the U.S. thanks, to the A.P.
Storm Ciara disrupted many sporting events, but as euronews highlights, it was reason to sound the alarm that the Dutch Headwind Cycling championships were on.
One athlete reports back after completing his “climb.”
The A.P. reports 11,000 people were interested in competing in the event, but it was capped at just 300 athletes. With the gale-force winds hitting 100km per hour, 250 racers finished before organizers were forced to blow off the rest of the event, ironically, due to wind.
The winner completed the 8.5km in just over 20 minutes. See the full results here.
Want your chance to be among the 300 racers blown away by next year’s [vomit] bucket-list experience? Follow the event on Facebook.