As the sun rose on day 2, a clear order had started to form at the front. After his sleep stop in Groningen Daan Marsman (cap 31) made excellent progress chasing down Bas Vlaskamp (cap 1). By evening the two were neck and neck, the lack of syncronisation of the tracker updates making it unclear who was in the front of who. And then everything changed.
Bas arrived in Den Helder first, but turned off route before stopping for a rest. This left Daan to take the lead. We thought this was it, with the sleep he got the previous night he was set to consolidate his lead. Then he stopped too. At around the 1030km mark, 30km after Bas, Daan bedded down in a hotel for his second sleep since beginning.
Bernd Paul has been hot on the tails of the two leaders for much of the day, and looked like he would take the lead. Then he stopped at about the 980km mark. The sleep bug seemed to be travelling back down the line, with clusters of riders forming around hotels and settlements along the route. In Amsterdam at the 890km mark. Jasmijn Muller (cap 2), was one of these, stopping on IJburg for about 4 hours sleep. Her first sleep stop since beginning 40 hours earlier.
Further back Marianne Thissen-Smits (cap 49) stopped off route at Makkum, around the 710km mark. She has been putting in a solid effort chasing Jasmijn, and has a clear gap back to her nearest competitors Eline and Francien.
At Emshaven it looked like a bit of a party was happening at one hotel with Eline Van Straalen (cap 3), Francien Peterse (cap 10), Ernst Huijboom (cap 136), and a couple of other riders all choosing the same hotel. Francien tweeted out that the hotel staff have been so kind as to wash her clothes for her. Which is a nice touch.
Francien had stopped earlier than Eline on day 1, having done a shorter distance, but at a higher speed. Across the day it was hard to see which of the two was in the lead as their dots kept swapping places, both witin the update error of the trackers. Based on their photos however, it looks like by Groningen they were neck and neck. Or at least, sat at the same table eating pasta. Eline made it to the hotel before Francien, the latter being slowed by a flat tyre 1km from her destination, in a reverse of the previous day. It'll be interesting who feels they can get by with the least sleep here, and get the jump on the other.
It's worth noting that choice of accomodation on events like this can make or break your ride. Some riders take extra kit so they can bivvi, giving them the flexibility to stop as and when they need it, while others rely on hotels. The later tends to give a much higher quality of sleep, but it can make for other compromises. The availability of hotels with 24 hour checkin is minimal in some areas of the Netherlands, this can be a problem if you wanted to take a longer stint. One issue that nearly all riders will have is what to do with their bike at the hotel. Because to many Dutch people a bike is a bike, you lock it up outside in the bike rack, when presented with a tired rider on a ultradistance bike, resplendant with carefully fitted luggage, their first reaction is "just lock it up out front". With the exception of one rider crazy enough to carry a 1.7kg lock on Ratn2019, the lock carried by most racers, if they carry any lock at all, typically offers minimal protection. It may be fine outside the cafe while you use the loo, but that's pretty much the limit, and in Amsterdam, even that is probably pushing their luck. The ideal situation is for the rider to take the bike into their room with them, but not all hotels are ok with this. Sorting out what to do with the bike can require careful negotiation, and that eats into valuable sleep time.
Florine Koning (cap 58) having done one of the shorter distances on day 1, made up on this reaching the 500km mark and Groningen before sleeping for the night.
Bringing up the rear Simon Daubert (cap 72), caused concern among dotwatchers after his tracker seemed to be stuck along a stretch of road, not anywhere anyone would typically choose to stop. Aujke (2019 cap 63), drove out to the location to check Simon wasn't injured, or see if the tracker had fallen off his bike. Neither Simon nor tracker was to be found. We mentioned this to Race Control, who contacted Simon and he was found to be safe in a Hotel in Emmen. There was a tracker issue causing the dot not to update. Unfortunately Simon has since had to scratch from the race. We don't yet have any information on the reason, but hope Simon is ok.
With Simon out of the race, recumbent rider Marian Bobko (cap 61) takes over the title of Lantern Rouge.
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