Bart de Zwart, holder of the 24 hour paddling Guiness World Record just finished the 11 city tour Non Stop edition which is the 5day-11 cities 220+ kms long through Dutch canals but in one go without stopping that he pioneered some years back. This year Bart decided to do the Non-Stop edition then straight away participate in the normal 5 day edition that he has won several times.
Bart found the time between finishing the non-stop edition and starting the normal edition to write this recap of what was one of the toughest version of 11 cities he has ever participated in:
« Some years are different then others. This year we had probably the roughest conditions we ever had during the 11-city.
To challenge myself I decided to do the 11-city non Stop and the 5 day stage 11-city right after. I just finished the Non stop in 3 rd place.
I started on the brand new 2018 SPRINT 14’ x 21.5 which I had just paddled once after arriving 48 hours earlier from Maui. But I felt right away at home on this board. The stability is amazing for 21.5” wide. I have paddled this for almost 25 hrs in windy, choppy and rainy conditions even thunder and didn’t fall off once.
The faster paddlers started in the 2nd start group at 11 in the morning. It was even sunny but big clouds were on the horizon. I started off good and took off quick, leading the pack. But this time I had a hard time to maintain my speed after 1 hour and had to slow down a little. Maybe it was the flying or the 12 hr jet leg but I didn’t have my usual power. The rain started only 30 minutes after the start and basically didn’t stop for the next 24 hrs, the only change was the intensity. At some point we were called off the water to wait out a thunder storm with lighting. After about 10 hours of mostly down and side wind, in the lead group we were pretty close together, we were not allowed to draft but the lead changed a couple time during the first half of the race with all of us arriving close together in Dokkum, one of the cities during this 11-city tour.
The tougher part started right then; head wind for hours in the dark with heavy rain coming down on us. I felt good during the upwind. But at some point in the night I got very tired, we are all tired after paddling for 12 hours but this was different, as in not able to keep my eyes open. For a couple of hours I couldn’t snap out of this and lost a lot of time. I went from fighting for first place to fighting for any podium place with number 3 and 4 in front of me. In the early morning hours I started feeling better and got my energy back a little. I started catching up with Yasul number 3 in the race at that moment.
After the winds were a little lighter for a few hours in end of the night, it picked up right when we crossed a little lake slowing us down at some point to only a few kilometers at times, rain cutting in your face. We fought up wind for hours until we could finally change course in Hindelopen for the last stretch of the race. By this time I used a lot of energy which was just enough to finish in 3rd.
This race, it wasn’t always fun, I often asked myself why i do this to myself at times but finishing this race was very rewarding and the food and drinks afterward tasted so much better.
Next are the 11-city 5 day stage race. Starting tomorrow, after day one was canceled due to high winds up to 100 km an hour today. »
1st: Janneke Smits (31 hours 1 minute 20 seconds)
DNF: Diva Hatami
DNF: Joanne Hamilton-Vale (joined relay team)
1st: Niek van der Linde (23:59:48)
2nd: Olivier Darrieumerlou (24:14:23)
3rd: Bart de Zwart (24:50:41)
4th: Yuval Botzer (24:53:12)
5th: Mike Kranenburg (31:01:20)
6th: Mthieu Leenaert (31:41:48)
7th: Alex de Saint (31:57:29)
8th: Stephane Lerat (31:57:51)
DNF: Florent Dode
DNF: Dean Dunbar
DNF: Sebastiaan de Ranitz
DNF: Ganco Anit
1st: Team Non-stoppables (30:36:51)
2nd: Team Supskool (31:09:50)