Elizabeth Emery Sport
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Tour of Holland
Day 3: 124km, 5 sprints
September 7, 1999

Still no rain, still fast, still moderate (wind though stronger today than the past two), still crazy aggressive riding.

We started at 4:30 this afternoon and finished at 7:30. Van Morsel's team kept the pace high and the group together for the entire 124 kms. Some fell off the back. Most stuck on despite the pace due to the flat terrain. The last 1000meters were crazy -- through construction, narrowing road, cobbled and narrowing corner, downhill to the fast sprint. We did that three times because of three 8km finishing loops. Again, nothing exciting happened. VanMorsel took the sprint with Petra right there. I don't know how Petra gets from being next to me to getting on the podium.

Day 2: 110km, 2 sprints
September 7, 1999

The distinctive aspects of this racing in Holland are that it is flat as a pancake, the racing is super fast, the riders are aggressive and pushy, and consequently, there are crashes. Usually, you can add to that, rain and incredible winds, which, so far, we've been fortunate enough not to experience.

Yesterday, again, was seemingly uneventful by the outcome: a field sprint won by VanMorsel. Between the start gun and the sprint there were far more attacks than the day before and the speed was much higher. We raced in single file most of the day. I took part in some early attacks. Chad, our mechanic (we are here with the National Team, by the way, since I forgot to mention that), said he had a list of rider numbers that were being called out over the official radio as breaks. As soon as he wrote them down and started looking up names, the break was caught. That's what it felt like on the road as well. I am even surprised the numbers were ever called out.

After taking part in some activity, the pace slowed down a bit and I started eating a banana, which I don't usually carry as race food. It turned out to be more difficult than I expected particularly with all the corners, the continuing high speed, and the breaking and yelling out. I drifted to the back of the pack and had a hard time working my way back up. Bananas are probably not good Holland race food.

The aggressors were the orange-jerseyed Dutch National team, and the Greenery team. The Dutchies do this thing of double attacking. The second person will either go with the first or drop off her, breaking to impede the chasing pack. It works quite well.

Our plan was to attack in the final four 10 km loops. We did so with just as much success as the earlier attacks had had. Oddly, for the finish, the pace slowed down, the pack bunched up more than it should have over the cobbles, and the inevitable crash occurred taking down Kerry Hellmuth (our rider whose name I didn't know). She is ok, just bummed since she had been close to the front. Most of the pack was caught behind it. Dede and I ended up on opposite curbs avoiding the mess, then rolled in across the line.

After the race we showered, and got back in the car for the long drive. We got back to base camp at 9pm waiting for the dinner of spinach, potatoes (mashed or whole), and very tough meat.

 © 2000
 Elizabeth Emery
 John Tomlinson
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