In Koersplaat Stories we meticulously relive a rider’s unforgettable queen stage. Today part 2. Debby Frenken’s first race: 200 kilometers through sand and mud during the mountain bike marathon Bartje 200.
“Today is my first ever race and I’m more than ready.”Debby Frenken
06:30 – Coffee or tea?!
Saturday morning, at half past six, I enter the hotel’s breakfast room. Bas, my bike mate is already there. Last night we drank mint tea here with a little too much honey. Laughing, we wondered if this would be the ultimate shortcut. But now all I can think about is coffee. And food, lots and lots of food.
07:42 ️- Ready to go
We drive into the parking lot. Today is the start and finish of my very first race. I’ve been training so hard for this in the past few months. I check everything one more time. Starting number? Check. Tire pressure? Check. Enough gels? Double check. These liquid servants are supposed to get me through when things get tough.
Remarkably, I don’t feel nervous. Quite the opposite. I am excited. My goal is to finish the race and I’m ready for that.
Bas starts twenty minutes earlier. I wish him luck and I slowly make my way to my starting area.
08:20 – Time to ride!
My wave starts with a bang. 200 riders fight for a spot at the front. I go off at 30 kilometers per hour. Full throttle over the cobbles. In the meantime, I’m looking for a fast rider with which I can go hunting the groups in front of me.
“I go off at 30 kilometers per hour. Full throttle over the cobbles.”Debby Frenken
08:29- In the wheel.
Between the trees, Bas suddenly appears. He’s been waiting for me for thirty minutes. He still suffers too much from his previous saddle pain. He has given up his own race and decided to ride with me. Too bad for him. Good for me. This is exactly the wheel I’m looking for.
09:44 – Completely in shape
We ride from group to group and overtake many riders. My legs are in great shape. So I only have to pay attention to two things: Bas his wheel and food. I have to keep eating.
12:07 – Master-servant
We just keep overtaking riders. Bas has turned out to be a master-servant and in the meantime, he counts all the riders we pass. There are now at least sixty of them. We’ve been riding for almost four hours and I still can’t feel my legs.
13:42 – The fatigue
We have a new group in our sights. Four men. Once behind them, I see their exhausted faces. Exactly at that moment, the rear cyclist hits a tree root and is catapulted over his handlebars. I’m lucky and can just get around him. With an energy gel in my mouth, we quickly move on to the next group.
15:07 – In the lead
There are no more groups to catch up with. At least, we don’t have any riders in front of us anymore. Now I focus for the first time on the beautiful surroundings. The trails look familiar. The Cyclocross Gieten is normally ridden here. Cool that I’m now racing a race here myself.
16:00 – Almost there
Ten kilometers before the finish we are overtaken for the first time. A group of men has started a final sprint. We try to keep track of them. After 190 kilometers this goes very quickly, and our morale drops.
16:21 – Final sprint
In the last 250 meters, there are many bends in the shell-covered path. Bas has now driven 195 kilometers in the lead, but with the finish in sight, I pass him for the first time. Luckily he can laugh about it. It’s a wrap. My very first race. What a monster ride. And what monster legs.
I find my phone among all the empty gel packs. Shit. Out of battery. But Bas manages to load the ranking on his phone. I finished third of all participants. How cool. The goal was to finish, but becoming third, I can’t believe it.
This tastes like more: I’m going to sign up for the Dutch Masters of MTB. Same recipe. One bike buddy in front, lots of gels, and the night before a mint tea with honey.
Have you also experienced a special adventure? Let us know. Maybe next time we’ll discuss the ride of your life!