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After a long track season, I wanted to do one road race before taking a period of rest and preparation for the road season really to begin. I chose Ronde van Woensdrecht with the famous climb of Rijsende weg for this occasion.

Unfortunately I had to start entirely at the back of the peloton, which is a really big disadvantage on this circuit. For a rider like me, who is strong enough but doesn't like to push other riders away and make risky manouvres to outbrake other riders before the corners, there was only the short climb to move up. Every time we tackled the climb of the Rijzende Weg I managed to pass many riders, but unfortunately I kept losing those places to riders who did do those risky manouvres in the corners, just to find themselves unable to hold the wheel afterwards leaving me with a gap to close. Halfway through the race I was unable to keep this up and had to let go of the peloton. This was also the end of my race, and the start of my off season. I will get back to racing in late April. Until that time I will first take some rest and support my team mates from SAAM Cyclingteam in the world paracycling championships before I will start to rebeuild my road form. I have yet to decide on my racing program for the road season, but the first main goal of the season will be the Tour of Belgium for tandem riders from May 14th to May 17th.

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On saturday Roel and I did our first ever tandem race together. It was also Roel's first ever track race, so there was some reason to be nervous. We knew we were both physically in good shape though, so we were confident we could set a good result anyway.

We had to do 2 races. First a 1 km TT, followed by a 4 km pursuit race. Our 1 km TT didn't start very well. Because there was a delay in the staryting machine, our rear wheel was still blocked when we wanted to start. We managed to hold back just in time to avoid heavy damage to both the tandem and the starting machine, but when we got released half a second later we had lost all momentum from our starting movement and the peak power of our first pedal stroke. For this reason, it took almost 2 laps to get up to speed. Still we almost managed to catch our opponents that started at the opposite side of the track. Given the situation, our time of 1.12.840 wasn't bad at all, but it was just 0.3 seconds off the win so obviously Roel and I were a bit disappointed by that, given what had happened during our start and the amount of time we have lost there. Still a 2nd place was not bad for our racing debut.

 

In the 4 km pursuit race, we did have a good start and managed to get up to speed really fast. After that, Roel got a bit overexcited and went flat out from the start. We managed to pass our opponents starting from the opposite side of the track really fast, but after that Roel couldn't keep up the same amount of power anymore. At first I tried to compensate that, but obivously I coldn't keep that up either so at the end of the race our lap times were about 2.5 seconds per lap slower than they were at the start of the race. Our eventual time of 5.05.350 was not as fast as we had hoped for on beforehand, but it was still good enough for 3rd place and our 2nd podium finish of the day.

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It's been a while since my last update, and a lot has happened since. I'm working hard to become a better tandem pilot, and Roel and me are getting used to each other and start to make some huge improvements. Below is a brief update on what has been going on lately, which includes my first ever track win.

After the national track cahmpionships, I spent January mostly working rather than training. Still the training I did do was enough to keep some decent form and get a fairly good result in the regional track championships, and improving my GC position up to 7th place in the final round of Driebanentoernooi.

 

In February I picked up the hard training again, doing a lot of specific work for a tandem pursuit. This included working on getting my TT position right, and getting used to this new position. The only races I did in February were the Alkmaar op dinsdag races, where I got some really good results with 2 times a 2nd place and a 4th place. I ended the month with a road training camp in Portugal with my team for the solo races.

 

All this hard work has certainly paid off, as I managed to get my first ever win in a track race on the first occasion after the training camp. In the omnium of Alkmaar op dinsdag, I managed to win 3 out of the 6 races and 2 out of the 4 events, and get on the podium in all other races and events which was good enough to get the overall win. And 2 of the events I did were won by doing a long solo rides, which scored me many points in both the points race and leaders race. Obviously I'm really happy with this win, as it's a clear sign of the improvements I have made since starting track cycling and mainly since joining SAAM Cyclingteam.

 

The race I won was also my last solo track race of the season, as so I'm ending on a high. Coming up next is a paracycling track tournament where I will race the tandem with Roel. After that I will do a few criterium races on the road, befor I take some rest to rebuild and really start the road season.

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The plan for the national track championships was to ride only the points race, with the goal to qualify for the final. Although I didn't make that goal, I did get a good result in another eThe next dayvent as I was asked to ride the 1 km TT as a tandem pilot for Tommy van den Eijnde at the very last moment.

In the qualification heat for the points race, I had some bad luck with the draw as I was in the heat with much stronger riders than the other heat. Obviously that didn't help my chances to make my goal and qualify for the final later that night, but I was confident that I was in good shape and still had a good shot at making it through the qualification heat. At the start of the race, I was riding near the front of the field looking for a group to escape, hoping to ride with them and sneak in some points which would basically guarantee a place in the final. Unfortunately, this didn't happen and after a while I ended up in the back of the field. Here racing was very nervous, and my lack of experience with races at this level became very obvious. For this reason, I was unable to move back up to the front and eventually ended up behind some gaps and could not get back, so I got lapped and was out for a chance to qualify for the final.

 

By that time I had to change my focus toward the 1 km TT on the tandem with Tommy van den Eijnde the next day. As we had never ridden together before, and the bike was not set up for me and was even still missing some parts, we had to start preparing very soon. We managed to set up the bike and even get in a few laps on the track before the day would end.

 

The next day it was time for our race. As we started our warm up early. while the race program got delayed, we had a very long warm up. The with most of the races before ours, there were false starts so both Tommy and me got a bit nervous as this was the first official race for both of us, immediately at the national championships. In our start, we gave too much power and misaligned the rear wheel to get a false start. This raised the pressure even further. In our second start, we had to hold back quit a lot to make sure the rear wheel remained fixed in the bike. But when we could finally five full power, Tommy showed his huge peak power to accelerate us to very high speeds, that were hard to handle for me as a pilot with so litle experience. But in the end we set a good time of 1.10.3 which was 4th fastest and 7th overall in a combined classification with the women's teams in a score relative to the world record times.

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From this past week, I'm now part of Paracycling team SAAM Cyclingteam. For now, I will join them during their training sessions at Sportpaleis Alkmaar every Wednesday and Friday, where we train from 10 in the morning till 3 in the afternoon, under supervision of trainer and former world champion Maria Jongeling. The intention is to prepare me for races as a tandem pilot, and with the team we work toward the Paralympic games of 2016 in Rio!

The cooperation with the people from SAAM Cyclingteam started a few weeks ago, when I decided to do an extra, unscheduled, track session at Sportpaleis Alkmaar. Team members Samantha van Steenis and Annika van der Meer were doing a training under supervision of trainer and former world champion Maria Jongeling. At this time, the team did not officially exeist yet, but they were workinghard to set up the team. They invited me to join them during their training on that day, and after the training we exchanged contact information to do some more training sessions together. They invited me to do some more training sessions together. A few training sessions later, there is now the official SAAM Cyclingteam and they invited me to join that team.

 

This week was my first week as a member of the team, and we had 2 hard days of training on the track. For me, the main priority is to improve my explosive accelleration in a sprint and from the start line. Since this is even my weak point in road racing, and this is even more important in track racing, there is a lot of work I need to do there. This means I have to do a lot of sprinting in training, which is hard. I do make fast improvements though, because I have improved my time over 65 meters with standing start by 0.8 seconds and my PB on the flying lap by 0.5 seconds since I started training with this team! These are major improvements, and much of this is gained by better technics and tactics.

 

Apart from the training sessions with SAAM Cyclingteam I will continue to do the Tuesday night madison races and the Thursday night track sessions with Herman Schenk. So if you need me, you can find me at Sportpaleis Alkmaar 4 days in a row every week. In the weekends I will be either racing on the track, or training with my team for individual races which will not change. This means I will hardly get any rest in between hard training sessions and races, but this hard work will make me stronger and help me prepare for my goals of this season, both on the road and the track.

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Update

Update

1 dec. 2014

It's been a while since I last wrote an update, but here it is. I've bee rather busy with various kinds of things. I've done some track races, but apart from that I'm alos working hard to start up my own business. Here you can read all about that.

I will start with the track races I've been doing lately. In general I can say that I'm gradually making progress, although that progress is not as fast as I would have hoped. With my current level I find myself able to stay with the top riders on most days, but I'm hardly ever able to actually make a big impact on how the races will evolve and notice that specially in the sprints the top track riders are much better than I am. So this is something to work on. Still, I have made up a lot of ground since last year and I will continue to work hard to fully close the gap to the top track riders in Holland.

 

Then there's some more very exciting news, as I have officially started my own business Tornado-Wheels! Although the business is just starting and the website isn't completely finished yet, you can already find some info there. I will be building road and track racing wheels with deep carbonfiber rims and sell them from my own webshop. But apart from the wheels in the webshop, you will also be able to buy wheels specially made for you, with your own color scheme matching your bike or team kit. I have just ordered the first set of hubs and rims, but it might take some time before they actually arrive so I don't have any wheels yet. As soon as the first set of wheels is finished, I will be using them in both racing and training on road and track. Of course I will keep you informed on that over here as well.

 

I will try to write updates more frequently here, specially as I expect to have some more big news coming up soon. So please keep checking back for more info!

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The Tuesday night madison races in Alkmaar have started, and because Marc Veldt, who will normally be my madison partner for this winter, was unable to race, I was paired to national track team member Dion Beukeboom for the occasion.

My first scratch race went according to plan, until about 3 laps to go. At the end, however, I did a very bad sprint and ended in 11th place which was not very good. My 2nd race of the evening was a points race, which was a lot better and with a late attack I managed to score some valuable points and got a 6th place in the final rankings. In this trong field, this was already a lot better for me. Together with the good result of Dion in his scratch race, and his win in the leaders race, we were in 4th overall and 1 point away from the podium goin into the final madison.

 

Because this is only my 2nd year of track racing, and Dion is more a persuiter who had only done 1 madison and very few mass start races before, we had some problems to get our hand sling right in the madison. Due to mistimings, we both missed a couple of handslings and wasted a lot of energy on other occasions. As a result, we were often at the back of the field or having to close gaps. Because both of us had very strong legs, we did manage to catch back up every time until we eventually got distanced one more time in the very final of the race and were unable to catch up again. However, the group that did manage to get away was not very big so we managed to limit our losses. In the final classification, we did drop 1 place back to 5th overall. But with our limited experience in these kind of races, that is still a very good result and the strength in my legs is a confidence booster for the races to come.

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After an unsuccessful road season, with many injuries and a lot of tough luck, it is now time to switch from road to track. Because of all the injuries I have had, my fitness level is not where I wanted it to be yet. Still I started my track season this weekend, and will continue to build from where I am now.

My first track endurance race of the new season was the first heat of the 3banentoernooi. The field of riders was a lot stronger than I expected, which made for fun but very har racing. We started off with a scratch race. During the race, I found my gear was too big so I had difficulties to follow the many accellerations in the group. In the end I managed to close all the gaps as well, but couldn't get involved with the racing in the front of the field and finished near the back of the group of riders still in the same lap as the leaders. After the scratch race, I asked advise from track trainer Herman Schenk about what gear to use. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time to change the front chain ring before the next race, but I could change my rear wheel to get a smaller gear. Obviously, now my gear was way too small for the elimination race. Also I couldn't get in a good position, and I was the first rider to be eliminated. Before the final points race, I did have just enough time to change to the gear as advised by Herman, but because of the work I had to do on my bike, I didn't have time to warm up or prepare properly. The combination of not being in top shape, changing gears 3 times in such a short time and not getting the warm-up I needed put me in the back of the field during the entire points race. I even got behind a split halfway through the race and for a moment I was half a lap down to the leaders, but I managed to chase back with everything I had. I didn't manage to score any points, and again finished as one of the last riders still in the same lap as the leaders. But at least I managed to hang on and finished all my races without getting lapped, which is already quit an achievement for me in such a strong field. I had hoped for more than this, but with my current form that was not possible against these strong opponents. I will continue to work hard and hope to improve from here, because there are many more races to come this winter.

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Last Thursday I raced in Borne, where they had a comletely different circuit than the years before. The circuit was now completely cobbled, but the corners were a bit easier. Although I liked the old circuit a bit better, the new circuit is nice as well and because we were racing straight thrue the shopping mall, the atmosphere was great with many enthousiastic spectators.

Because I had also won a local club race 2 days before, my confidence was high and I knew my form was good. So all the ingredients for a great race were there. Unfortunately, I had to start pretty far from the back after bib nubers would decide starting position and because I had some problems to clip in my pedals I went last through the first corner. From there on, I managed to move up pretty well but it was not easy on this circuit and it took me quit a while. By the time I got to the front, the breakaway was already gone. Also, right when I got to the front it started raining and the road surface got very slippary. I was a bit overcautious which caused me to drop back to the rear end of the peloton again. After the road dried up again, I was able to move back up to the front but in the hectic final with some riders making very dangerous moves, I decided not to risk anything and didn't contest the sprint in the peloton for minor placings. Still I did finish in 28th position, and again got the confirmation that the legs are good and top shape is coming up.

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Last Sunday I was finally able to race again after my crash in the local club race a few weeks ago. I was racing in Tour de Waard, a very fast criterium close to home with always a strong field and many spectators. Before the start I was a bit nervous because I didn't know how my body would respond to the high intensity of racing after being out for so long and racing so little this season.

From the start I was able to stay near the front of the field without difficulty, and after a couple of laps I felt confident enough to jump with some of the breakaways and keep the pace high. Together with team mate Jeroen, we were working well together to make sure we kept close to the front and in most of the many breakaway groups got at least one of us in it. About halfway through the race, Bart van Haaren attacked alone and I was doing some pulls on the front in the peloton behind to keep him close. After one of the corners I saw I had a gap to the rider behind me, and after the next corner I saw the gap had become bigger. That's when I decided to give it all I have to bridge the gap alone. I just managed to do that, and Mike Terpstra did the same thing. Only he had a lot more left when he got there, and decided to do another big pull at the front of this group, which was just too much for me and I had to let the other 2 riders go. This is the result of not having done enough races this year and not any races in the past month, which is unfortunate because those 2 riders managed to stay away from the peloton and took 1st and 2nd place. I dropped back to the peloton, and later got some problems with my bike which made me unable to stay near the front of the peloton to jump with a chasing group or sprint for the placings in the first part of the peloton. In the end I finished 40th, which is ok, but a lot more would have been possible. Yet I'm happy with the way I could get involved with the racing, although I couldn't really make an impact yet. This gives me a lot of confidence for the upcoming races and the last part of the road season. I hope I can do even better with some more races under my belt.

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In the last 2 days, I started 2 races after my crash 2 weeks ago. Unfortunately, I noticed I was not recovered from my injuries and have to be more patient.

On Sunday, I rode in Oostzaan. The race got off to a very fast start but and from the beginning I had some problems to hold on to the back because the left side of my body was still not functioning the way it should. When some riders in front of me had to drop out, I was unable to close the gaps and dropped out of the race as well.

 

On Monday, I wanted to try again in Roosendaal which is always special for me. From the start I noticed that again my left side was not contributing to my power output, but because the circuit was so technical I could compensate with my good bike handling skills. Because of this, I managed to stay with the peloton until I got a flat tire and didn't have a spare wheel. That ment my race was over.

 

But as I was only racing on 1 leg in both of the races, I will also have to decide to cancel all races in the upcoming period. I do not know when I will be able to race again, but I don't expect to do many road races for the rest of this year and plan to start preparing for the track season instead.

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Update

Update

30 jul. 2014

It's been a while since I last updated this page, and a lot has happened in that time. I had many medical checks and was eventually cleared to race again. This was hard at first, as I was still recovering from whatever (probably a virus, but not confirmed) I had. But after a few weeks I started to get a lot sronger and I was able to get involved with some breakaways again and I felt ready to finally get some good results again during the summer. Unfortunately, that wasn't to be.

In the final preparation for the series of post tour criteriums, a local club race on the parcours of my own club, I got a rear puncture in the corner and had a very bad crash. Now, over a week later, I still have some difficulty bending my hip and have hardly any power in my left leg. This makes racing impossible at the moment and training is very limited and low intensity only. I took 2 weeks off from work to race as many crits as possible, but as things are standing now I will not be able to do a single race in that period. I hope to recover quickly from here on, but this is just another setback in an already unlucky season so far.

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After a series of bad results and a continuing drop in form over the last month or so, the team staff and I both decided to stop racing for a while and get some medical testing done before I can get back to racing.

This means I will have to cancel at least Ronde van Rijsenhout and Ronde van Lieshout, which are both this week. The next race on my program would be Ronde van Wervershoof at the end of next week, but it is very likely I would have to cancel that race as well. I can't tell how long this situation is going to last, or how many races I will have to withdraw from. 

 

The current situation is that I have had the first basic medical check, and everything seems fine there. I'm now waiting for the results of the blood testing, and based on those results the next steps will be decided on.

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Although there were a few signs of improvement, my lack of form of the past few weeks continued to show in the Ronde van 't Zand.

In the first part of the race, I felt ok and was able to stay with the first group quit easily. However I was not able to move up to the front of the group and when some splits started to show in the midle part of the race I didn't have the strength to get back on and had to leave the race again. This is yet another disappointment, but I can take the positive signs with me because I saw the first signs that my form is slowly starting to return. I hope to keep improving over the next couple of weeks to get back to a competative level.

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Today in Ronde van de Kerspelen, I was confident before the start that my legs would be better than they have been in the last couple of weeks because I had been feeling good in training as well.

Unfortunately, in the race it was just the same as in the last couple of races where I was unable to give just that bit extra on the important moments. Today that meant I was behind a small split in the cross winds, and could not close the gap even though it was only 10 meters. It is very frustrating that specially on my normally strongest point, I am now unable to stay with the main peloton so I can not even finish my races. I'm working hard with the staff of my team to find out how to change this situation and get back to my normal level again.

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Unfortunately, my form is not improving the way I would want it to. In the race in Enkhuizen, this meant I was uable to follow the first group.

When I was leading the 2nd group and setting a good pace, I dropped my chain on a speed bump in a corner and could not shift it back on. This meant I had to stop to get the chain back on, which took so much time that I was already a lap and a half down and I decided not to join the race again.

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After managing to just hang on in Hengelo, I went to Waddinxveen knowing that this new lap would be a lot harder and the field a lot stronger. So I knew in advance I was in for a difficult task, but as I now had a full race in the legs since my injury I also expected to be stronger myself than I was 2 days before.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case and because it was flat out racing from the start I was also in difficulty right from the start. I just managed to hang on to the wheel in front of me, but many riders were dropping out and when that happened right in front of me I didn't have the power in my legs to close that gap, something I'm usually very good at. For this reason, I was left behind and had to abandon the race. The worst part of that is missing out on a lot of race km that I need so badly to get back in shape. Right now it is up to me to work very hard in training to get my peak power up to a decent level again so I can be competative in the races like I was at the end of last season. This will take a lot of work and a lot of time, but I'm up for that challenge!

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After a long time out of competition due to a muscle tear, I could finally make my comeback in the criterium in Hengelo, Ronde van de Vijver.

I was very happy just to be back racing, but as you could expect after a period of being injured my legs were not strong enough to do anything more than following the peloton. In the end I finished quit far to the back, in 54th position. It wasn't very good, but it was good just to be back racing. I hope to improve steadily over the next couple of weeks to get back to a decent level to compete in the criteriums again. My next race will be Ronde van Waddinxveen on Monday.

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A strong cross/tail wind made for a very fast start in the race formerly known as Witte Kruis Classic, but which is now named Ronde van Zuid-Holland.

This fast start in the cross winds also caused the peloton to split into many echelons on several occasions. Unfortunately I was too far to the back to get in one of the groups at the front of the race, and although I had very strong legs and managed to catch up with many smaller groups I never made it back to the front again. After 110 km of racing in just over 2 hours I had to stop the race because I was too far back to keep the roads closed. This unfortunately ment I couldn't finish the race. But on a more positive note, I have been racing flat out for 80 km in a group with Malaya van Ruitenbeek, which I hope to do more often this season in a different situation as we are both very good criterium specialists. With the criterium season starting next week in Woensdrecht, I think I'm on the best form I have ever had this early in the season. On Sunday, the day after the Ronde van Zuid-Holland, I confirmed my good form with a 2nd place in a local race after placing many attacks and eventually winning the bunch sprint for 2nd place after controling the peloton behind one rider that had escaped. I also did a lead out for my team mate Richard Konijn in the 40+ masters cathegory, that had to sprint a few laps before the elite riders did, which helped him to take the win in his race. These are all good signs that let me start the criterium season with a lot of confidence that I can get ome good results there.

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At the very last moment I received a phone call from my team that I was supposed to ride Ronde van Groningen to replace Wouter Moll who had signed a pro contract at the very last moment and wasn't allowed to take the start in this race any more. This meant I could only get a few hours of sleep to get everything prepared to be able to at least take the start, while I had been doing too much training in the past couple of days to reach peak fitness on race day. Yet I was motivated to make the most of it.

Already very early in the race I got a rear puncture. Because our team car was very far behind, I was helped by the neutral service car. Although the wheel change was not very fast, I managed to stay calm and could chase back without too much difficulty because the pace in the peloton was very slow. The biggest problem I had after my wheel change was the extremely low grip. Even though I took every corner very slowly, my rear wheel kept breaking away like I was riding on ice and every time I tried to accelerate my rear wheel kept slipping but I didn't produce any speed. Still I managed to stay with the peloton for a very long time and even managed to get fresh bottles for the team, but when there was a crash on a roundabout 60 km at 60 km to go I managed to jump over a traffic island to avoid the crash, but had to close a big gap in a section with a lot of corners, with the slippary rear tire. Eventually I managed to get back to the peloton, but right when I got there, there was another big crash with 4 of my tream mates involved, including our top sprinter Jeroen Kaldenbach. I managed to jump over another traffic island to avoid the crash again, but again I lost connection to the peloton. I was in the group with Jeroen, and he asked me to bring him back so I gave it all I had. I came really close to the peloton just before a section of corners. I decided to let Jeroen pass so he could get back into the peloton by the end of the section of corners, while I lost a lot of terrain there again and never made it back. In stead I rode to the finish, mainly on my own, to finish 5 minutes down. As my main goal for the day was not to crash, and the other goals were to finish the race and help the team, I think I can be happy with what I have done in this race. 

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