Afsluitdijk time trial over 38 km (about 23.6 mi), or 
Open Dutch Championship Distance Unicycling, 22 September 2007

Deze pagina in het Nederlands  

The Open Dutch Championship Distance Unicycling was organised for the first time in 2007, in combination with a time trial for kickbikes (for which it was the 25th edition) and trikkes. The trial went from Den Oever to Harlingen, a distance of 38 km (23.6 mi). Seven unicyclists entered the race, four from the Netherlands (of which one failed to show up) and three from Germany. The race was won by Dustin Schaap, in a time of 1:26:09. Besides unicyclists, three trikke riders participated, and about fifty kickbikers.

Participating unicyclists:

Name Country Wheel size End time
Dustin Schaap NL 36" 1:26:09
Jan Logemann D 36" 1:31:37
Klaas Bil NL 36" 1:41:59
Walter de Valk NL 36" 2:12:47
Linda Kirner D 28" 2:17:59
Stefan Brux D 29" 2:20:21

(Full results are available on , click "uitslagen", then "2007 uitslagen".)

The remainder of this race report is mostly written from my own perspective. I've had my fast 36" Nimbus unicycle only since April 2007. Five months of riding is not really enough to get fully used to this big wheel. And indeed I noticed my speed is still progressing. Part of that is related to crank length: I ordered the unicycle with 152 mm cranks, and had since worked my way up (down?) through 140, 127 and 125 mm. Recently I bought a set of 114 mm but I didn't dare yet to fit them for this time trial. Well, if anything this race is a useful intermediate reference point under racing conditions.

Under a beautiful clear sky, the race began at exactly 13:00. After the trikke riders, and before the kickbikers, the unicyclist were kicked off. Because this was a time trial, and stayering was strictly forbidden, the participants started at 30 seconds intervals . The picture shows me a few seconds after my start, still picking up speed:

The asphalt of the dedicated cycle lane along the Afsluitdijk was very smooth. And, this being a dike, generally very flat too. With a slight headwind (that later turned and became a slight tailwind) I was able to pedal smoothly at a cruising speed of about 23 km/h (14-15 mi/h). 

Off Breezanddijk (almost halfway the dike, 14.5 km into the race), this picture was made of me:

At this point I was just going somewhat slower because the bike lane goes up to the fly-over near the restaurant. The GPS on my helmet neatly recorded that (see bottom of page, around point number 120).

After about 20 km I put in a short stop, to restore blood circulation in my groin area, and to drink a small bottle of energy drink. I kept this stop as short as possible, about one minute.

Near Kornwerderzand the Afsluitdijk reaches land again, after which the race course continues almost 10 km along the Friesian coast. Of course I knew this, but keeping up the pace became more difficult now. Saddle-soreness began to seriously kick in, the road surface was bumpy in places with some slanting paving stones, temporary iron sheets, and even a traffic bump here and there. Towards the end, my speed dropped to slightly above 20 km/h, even though the wind direction had changed and I could enjoy a slight tailwind now. In addition, I now had to ride "safe" so that I wouldn't fall through tiredness. I was rather whacked when I passed the finish line, with one arm flailing to keep balance:

The first kickbikers had also finished by now, and lots more followed. After that the organisation needed quite a bit of time to work out all the corrections to the finish times, after which it was time for what was announced as a stylish awards ceremony. I was quite pleased when I received the cup for third place! 

On the picture I stand next to the junior world champion marathon, who in turn is next to the German marathon champion. But then again, it's not such an extraordinary achievement. Everyone can learn to ride a unicycle, and if you then buy such a big wheel and spend some time on it, these kind of times are indeed about achievable. 

The secretary of the Dutch Kickbike Association, Thijza Brouwer, who handed out the awards, seemed to be somewhat amazed at the speeds attainable on a unicycle. As far as she was concerned, unicycles would certainly be welcome next year. Well then, as far as I'm concerned, I'll break my PR ... but the weather will have to cooperate as much as it did this time.

This is the speed profile of my ride: along the vertical axis is my speed in km/h, along the horizontal axis is the data point number from the GPS data file.

The pictures above were made by Monique Lans.

Dustin put a video on YouTube

Several papers ran an article about this time trial:

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