I still can’t really believe it. I managed to get myself selected for team NL for the IAU Trail World Championships in Portugal!!

I got injured 3 weeks before the selection race took place, so (trying to look at it from the bright side) I had a very long tapering period.. This wasn’t ideal, but yet I managed to finish this race as the first Dutch lady. This meant I was going to represent my country in Portugal! I hadn’t quite thought about what this would really mean, but one thing was for sure: it was time for a bit of training....

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We did it!!!! We finished the Raid in France in 5 nights & 5 days. We even managed to finish 14th overall. This was the longest race we ever participated in. Before we started we weren't sure whether we would be physically capable of doing such a race. This would be the first Adventure Racing World Series Race we would participate in, and we were very aware that this is the highest level of adventure racing, a level we have not yet experienced before. From the other hand, looking at the distance, it didn't seem too much. 'Only 450km'. We've done more kilometers before, in a shorter timespan. Harm, who already participated in 2 Raid in Frances before, warned us that the amount of kilometers would be misleading. ‘They’ll send us over very technical terrain, there won’t always be paths, it will involve a lot of bike-carrying, there will be a lot of altimeters, and we might be struggling to meet deadlines’. We couldn’t wait to find out and see.

The start wasn’t great for Arjan. He’d caught a stomach bug just 3 hours before the race start, and only 15 minutes before the start he was still hugging the public toilet in Font-Romeu. I also wasn’t feeling well and still struggling with a cold and high temperatures. We decided to just ‘suck it and see’.

We started with a prologue for which we had 50 minutes. Maarten’s navigational skills are excellent, and we easily managed to find all the CPs within the timeframe. We then got the maps for the first part of the race.

When I was little I often saw cartoons on TV that showed people and animals that were going ‘on an adventure’. The smurfs, my little pony, David de Kabouter, etc. I then always wondered what it would be like to go ‘on an adventure’.  I think this wondering has never changed, and is probably one of the reasons I do adventure races.

And so we, team Vertical Dissidents, decided to go ‘on an adventure’ again. This time it would be the Harz in Germany. Bas moved to Norway and needs to focus on his life and work there, and so we were going to participate as a trio: Maarten-the-Machine, Arjan-the-Tarzan, and myself. We’re aiming for the Raid in France in September, and we saw the Harz as a good training weekend for this. We started the race knowing we would be unranked because we are ‘only’ a team of three, but that wasn’t really an issue – we just wanted to experience yet another adventure.

Racing on the continent is always a logistical challenge for Arjan and me. The problem is that bit of water that needs to be traversed. On Friday morning, Maarten picked us up from Eindhoven Airport. Unfortunately the traffic was really bad, and once we finally arrived we struggled to change the paddles of the bike I borrowed of Frederike (huuuge thanks!!). Thanks to some help and tools of other teams we managed, but it took a long time, and we finished packing just in time for the bike-drop off (read: 1 minute before closure). When the race briefing finished, we still had to eat. Luckily, Adventure Food meals come in handy sometimes J Because of our great preparations and an early start we didn’t get much sleep that night (1,5 hours). My body had decided to make it an even longer adventure race, because I had also barely slept on Thursday night because of work-related issues and the early flight. One thing was sure: this was going to be a perfect training for the Raid in France!

The race would start at 4am. Maybe this is where I made a mistake, who knows. I was cold and hadn’t put on an extra layer in the time we were waiting for the starting signal. I shivered, but was excited and longed for the adventure.

Afgelopen jaar deden een aantal van 'onze' dames mee met de Yukon River Quest. Petje af voor deze monster peddeltocht door de Canadese wildernis.

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