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Intrepid Cyclists Fought Against Storm Ciara in Traditional Dutch Bike Race

By Adam Marsal

Ciara the storm swept over Europe with the speed of up to 180 km/h, toppling trees and causing damage to buildings, cars and infrastructure wherever it showed up. While authorities warned against the hurricane beforehand and recommended people to stay home in safety, hundreds of Dutch cyclists took no threats into account and joined a crazy competition against the wind.

The traditional Dutch Headwind Cycling Championships takes place at the coast of the Zeeland province of the southern Netherlands. The 8,5-km-long racing route stretches on the Oosterscheldekering storm barrier running along the beach. Only single-gear bikes are allowed and all of them must be delivered by the organisation arranging the event. Despite a massive interest among Dutch cyclists, a total number of only 300 individuals (or 25 teams of four riders) is picked from the list to participate. The annual time trial with a tradition rooted in 2013 is normally announced three days before the expected storm and the date was set on Sunday, February 9, 2020.

The race is demanding under any recent conditions yet with the Ciara approaching, this time it was a bit too much even for the most experienced riders, fighting hunched behind the handlebars. Vomit buckets were provided past the finish line and several riders ended the course after being blown off the bike. After several crashes occurred and the wind growing unbearably strong, the race had to be eventually brought to a premature end.

These Dutch wind riders are actually not the only ones known for committing to withstand extremely fierce weather on a bike. Two years ago, American stuntman Lucas Brunelle posted a video depicting him battling the 220 km/h force of hurricane Irma through flooded streets of Miami.

Lucas caught the attention of the CNN crew flying over the deserted city in a helicopter and covering the situation – they subsequently called him incredibly stupid on a live broadcast. Was it stupid or brave of him? Would you dare to ride in such a storm?