Fact file

Amerongen, Netherlands
Start Date:
Saturday, August 29, 2020 6:00 AM
Last year’s winner:
Bas Vlaskamp

Day 5 - Starting to Finish

Day 5 saw the slow trickle of riders pick up to a steady stream. Watching the trackers it was hard to work out which of Bas Vlaskamp (cap 1) or Flip Patijn (cap 5) was in front. It looked neck and neck, but the tracker error made it hard to tell. In the end Bas was the first to round the corner into the square in front of Cafe de Proloog.


Last years winner, Bas, had set out targetting a 72 hour finish, but three punctures on the first night in the north of Groningen, and a broken pump, started what would be a series of small issues that would eventually snowball. On the evening of day three Bas had taken a hotel for a short sleep. He was suffering from shermers neck which was making progress slow. Bas was travelling very lightly, and judging but he colour of his neck, sunblock was one of the items he hadn't brought with him.

Two surprise scratches from the top 10 within quick succession, Berten De Meyer (cap 24), and Lindsay McCrae (cap 142) bumped everyone behind them up two places.

By the end of day five, twenty solo riders had completed the race, as well as half of the 1617 pair, the Frans brothers. Unfortunately Eric had had to scratch in Zeeland.

Further back Marianna Thissen-Smits (cap 49), made good progress through Noord Brabant to finish the day at the base of the Cauberg in Valkenberg. She got a few hours sleep before resuming very early in the morning.

Francien Peterse (cap 10) started the day badly, going back to the hotel to recover a jacket she thought she'd left behind, only to discover it in her bag. At this stage in the race, you really feel any extra distance, so a mistake like this tends to hurt. Coat found, Francien made another consistent 250km to Vlissingen.


Florine Koning (cap 58) put in a strong 261km from near Hoorn to Rotterdam. Florine is one of three rides forming a cluster at the tail of the race along with Marian Bobko (cap 61), and Ruerd Kuipers (cap 126).


Ferry Interviews - Jasmijn Muller (cap 2)

On Monday morning I cycled out to the IJmuiden ferry to interview the first few riders as they headed south. This is the third, and final, interview to be published, with Jasmijn Muller (cap 2). You can listen via soundcloud, or there is a transcript below.


Julia: What’s your name and cap number?

Jasmijn: Jasmijn, no. 2

Julia: How are you doing?

Jasmijn: Good, I’m eating!

Julia: What are you eating?

Jasmijn: A vegetable kroket, it’s fairly innocent!

Julia: How’s the race treated you so far?

Jasmijn: It’s treated me really well, or I have treated the race better probably. I felt like I was burning up, then I realised that I was totally sunburnt, so I bought some suntan lotion. It’s a lot better today! At first I thought, is it the effort, or the lack of sleep, or is it my period coming up? Why am I burning up? And then I looked in the mirror and thought a-ha, sunburn!

Julia: How does it compare to last year?

Jasmijn: Much easier, yeah! Temperature’s perfect, the wind’s been mostly good. Massive tail wind on day one, then day two some tricky cross wind in the north. Fewer sheep.

Julia: Fewer sheep?

Jasmijn: I stopped so many times in the north, I kept checking the route, restarting it again. I was adamant I was disqualified because I was on the wrong roads because I didn’t recognise any of it. I thought there should be more sheep. Where were the bloody sheep? And then in the end I realised no, it’s because of this change around Lauwersoog, which on paper doesn’t look that big but in reality it’s much, much longer. Then I realised of course I am on the right roads but when you don’t see other people around, you’re thinking, oh no, I don’t want to go all the way back!

So yeah, big crosswinds, loads of rain, got really wet.

Didn’t sleep on the first night. I went to the NH Groningen, I thought I’d sleep but it was fully booked, fine, so I kept going. Then yesterday I slept at a hotel next to wildbunch which was very nice

Julia: How much sleep have you got?

Jasmijn: About 4 hours, it’s good.

Julia: Do you reckon you’ll sleep again before the finish?

Jasmijn: I’m not sure yet, I’ve got options marked off and I’ve got my bivvy kit but I’m not pre-planning my sleeps, just feeling how I am. Probably is better if I do sleep!

Julia: You have a 200km lead on Marianne, she passed through Amsterdam about 10 minutes ago.

Jasmijn: Good!

Julia: All 5 are still running, I’ve been so concentrating on the front half I’ve not looked for the bottom three yet.

Jasmijn: All 5 still running, that’s good.

Julia: You’re coming up on Noordwijk and Katwijk, so it’s going to start getting all new soon.

Jasmijn: Yes, once I’m past Noordwijk, then it starts.

Julia: Are you looking forward to it?

Jasmijn: Yes, because after I scratched, I then rode on to where a friend of ours lived and I went through dunes, it was so beautiful. I’m really looking forward to racing that because those dunes are tarmac surface. Whereas the other dunes we just came out of are klinkers Ed: Dutch block paving . Once everything is a bit sore, I was basically riding the whole thing, 20km maybe, standing out of the saddle, just not to have any impact!

Julia: How are the contact points?

Jasmijn: Hands are good, feet are good, labia are a little bit swollen! So, I can’t time trial much anymore, that does too much damage! If I sit upright it’s fine. I’ve got some happy bum butter.

Julia: Any issues with the bike?

Jasmijn: The tyres aren’t holding the air very well, so I have to keep stopping and pumping them up.

Julia: Are you running tubeless?

Jasmijn: Yeah. It’s just surfaced but I’m not sure what’s going on. At one point, you know when you get out of the saddle and put some power through, you realise with the movement that the front tyre is nearly flat. Can’t see a hole, can’t see any of the sealant, so I just pumped it up to see if it would hold. Which it did. But then by the evening I had to pump it, so I’m getting a good arm workout!

Julia: A full body workout!

Jasmijn: Yeah!

Julia: Well, we’re about to dock so good luck and ride strong!

Thanks to dotwatcher Bethan for transcribing this interview.

We have a winner!

Late on Wednesday evening, a small group of family, and friends gathered outside Cafe de Proloog eagerly awaiting the arrival of a rider.

Four days, thirteen hours, and eight minutes after leaving Amerongen on Saturday, Jasmijn Muller (cap 2), rode into the square. Jasmijn is the winner of the 2020 edition of the Race Around the Netherlands.


This is Jasmijn's second attempt at the race, having started last year before having to scratch around the 1100km mark in Noordwijk. At the time of her scratch in 2019, Jasmijn was in a strong position in the top five overall. Her scratch was a shock to many, and taught us all the important lesson: In order to finish first, first you have to finish. When interviewed at the IJmuiden ferry on Monday, Jasmijn had said that she was looking forward to seeing the rest of the route, especially the dunes around Scheveningen. As she removed her helmet and gloves, she joked "It's quite nice the other half". Before following up with "I liked the hills in Limburg."

Jasmijn is only the 3rd woman to complete the full distance of Race Around the Netherlands, and her time takes 77 hours off the previous fastest time set last year by Shiela Woollam (7D // 18H // 8M).


She made two sleep stops over the course of the 1907km race. The first for approximately 4 hours in Amsterdam, and her second in Stein, Limburg. At the later she forgot to set her alarm and slept for 6 hours. This extra time allowed a number of riders to slip past her, resulting in Jasmijn being the 11th rider over all to finish.

Near the town of Hoogvliet (1210km), Jasmijn encountered construction work that has closed the bridge on the route for 3 nights, this resulted in a lengthy detour to get back on route, costing her significiant time.

Jasmijn had been battling a slow puncture in her rear tyre that meant she had to stop every few hours to put more air in. In Goes, Zeeland, she was able to find a bike shop that was able to help her find and plug the hole. This was the only mechanical issue she had over the whole route.

Congratulations Jasmijn, an awesome and inspiring ride.

Ferry Interviews - Lindsay McCrae (cap 142)

On Monday morning I cycled out to the IJmuiden ferry to interview the first few riders as they headed south. I'll be publishing some of them over the week. This is the second interview to be published (but 1st to be recorded), with Lindsay McCrae (cap 142). You can listen via soundcloud below, or there is a transcript below.


J: Can you say your name and your cap number.

L: Lindsay McCrae, 1 4 2

J: Cool. Do you realize you're in 3rd?

L: No. (both laugh)

J: You are in third place.

L: OK, I thought when I left the café this … last night, I thought I was in 6th or 7th, cos I took a couple of hours at the café.

J: Everyone slept.

L: OK, so I’ve passed them in the night

J: Yeah. … You have 131, sorry 121, and 31 are ahead of you. Ah, behind you, about 20k, is number 5 and number 1. So 1 is Bas from last year, 31 is Daan who came second last year. So you’re 3rd.

L: So I expect the two behind me to pass me at some point.

J: Unfortunately. The … er … so … Bas slept for about six hours, and he’s storming it down the coast.

L: So he will catch me then.

J: Unfortunately.

L: Have the two in front of me stopped, d’you know?

J: Yes.

L: Okay. Oh well. … So … fifth.

J: Have you stopped … during the night?

L: I had an hour and a half at the café. And that was it.

J: How much have you slept since the start?

L: An hour and a half.

J: It’s Monday morning. You’ve been going over 48 hours, and you’ve had an hour and a half. … Incredible.

L: Well. Yeah, it just go till … the plan was just to … I’ve got a bivvy and stuff so just go until I was sleepy, so … the rain and the wind helped keep me awake … first night … ehm … and I was a bit drowsy this morning but again that big heavy shower and stuff …

J: What’s the weather been like for you?

L: Ehm … the first half of Saturday was really good, and then, we kind of turned into a headwind, and then there was a bit of rain, ehm, but finished off ok apart from the Garmin problems, ehm, and then this morning was nice, and then just an hour or two ago ehm just heavy … heavy showers and it got really cold really fast … and … so I’m wearing most of my clothes now.

(J laughs)

L: But if it … I think it’s to improve the rest of today, tomorrow … so, I’ll see how far I get between now and then if I need to …

J: Bike working ok?

L: Eh, yes, apart from the fact that I’m no good at making U-turns on small roads in big gear

(J laughs)

L: I think I’ve been over about three times

J: Oh, blimey!

L: So eh … yeah that’s, eh, a new skill I need to learn. Cause the garmin just stopped … stopped giving me cues … so I was just trying to have to follow the map … ehm … which is no good at night … ehm … so I, I was overshooting quite a few times, ehm, and eh, yeah. And then yesterday I don’t know what I did. It just, it kind of just froze my track, I wasn’t moving, like my wee dot wasn’t moving at all, so … I was all through the bluebells, as they say … and just after you come over the big bridge … so between there and the café I was just everywhere, I was …

J: Ah, yeah.

L: Oh, it was, I was all … though parks and … the, the the surfaces here are brilliant, but if you get lost, it’s just a rabbit warren of bike paths (laughs, snorts) just … I want

J: Is this your first time cycling in the Netherlands?

L: Yes. Yes. I’ve cottoned on to the wrong side of the road and the, you know, the roundabouts and the kind of basic strategies of things, quite quick, but then, as I say, in the parks and stuff, when you’re trying to navigate, it just … wasn’t happening, yeah.

J: How’d you get on with the sheep?

L: The sheep … are a bit like they are in Scotland … you just kind of let them know you’re coming and they just turn round and look at you with disdain … ehm … so yeah that was fine. That was ok. Ehm, yeah, no near misses. I got hit in the face by a bat

(J laughs)

L: … aye, we did a bit of a tangle with an owl this morning, I thought, there’s a kind of … just out the side of the light, I thought there’s like an egg-shaped rock beside the road … which then turned its head and looked at me and then took off and kind of came up through there, so there was a bit of argybargy and then it left –

J: He’s pointing at his armpit there.

L: Eh. But then I saw … lots of cats, some big … big hares this morning … an otter …

J: What? You've hit all of these as well, or …?

L: No, these were just visuals, so, I think it, I’m pretty sure it was an otter, eh, crossing in front of me … yeah no it’s been quite eventful.

J: Cool.

L: Playing leapfrog, as you do with, eh, a couple of the guys … ehm …

J: What’s your strategy for the rest of the day? Or the rest of the race?

L: Just … plough on. … See how it goes.

J: You’ve got … more behind you than in front of you, so …

L: That’s it, it’s just, it’s … it’s … ticking down the numbers now, so

J: Yeah.

L: And … and if I can get through today ok, and keep fed and watered quite well … I think most of the remote areas have gone.

J: Just remember there’s bugger all in Zeeland

L: How … how far where away from …

J: Zeeland’s about thirteen hundred kilometres form the start – that area

L: Ok, ok

L: Well I, I think, I can usually carry about enough for, if I stock up, from there on I can get about ten hours on the bike, so … I’ve just been, because all the gas stations now, are generally shut, or no shop, I eh, I just, if I see somewhere open, I just tend to …

L: Yeah.

L: … fill the bike up and … take it from there.

J: Favourite food so far?

L: Eh, this morning was salted cashew nuts, ehm, and I hit … it’s not a, ehm, I’ve been a bit disappointed with Jumbo in terms of fresh ready meals, but there’s one with a blue, blue red, two words with blue, haas something, they made a, this eggs and like kind of, we would call them, kind of pies and bridies kind of thing back home, just … fantastic, that was last night and I was needing it at that point.

J: Is this your first race?

L: Eh, my third.

J: What were your others?

L: Biking Man Portugal and Biking Man Oman. Eh, last year in February.

J: You want to get to the front there because that’s about to open, and, er, I will get out of your way.

L: Right.

J: Cool!

L: Good to see you!

J: Thank you very much!

Thanks to dotwatcher Ben Hemmens for transcribing this interview.

Day 4 - Limburg looms

By the time the sun rose on day 4 of the race, riders stretched along the route from Limburg to Friesland, spanning over 1000km.


Jasmijn Muller (cap 2) had riden through the night and started day 4 in Zeeland heading for Limburg via Noord Brabant. In the town of Goes she was fortunate enought to find a bike shop specialising in sports bikes where she could get the slow puncture in her real tyre fixed. Jasmijn finished the day in a hotel in Stein, resting before the big climbs.

Meanwhile further along the route, Bart Verheijnen (cap 44) had already reached the edge of the Limburg hills. Bart completed the race in 2019, and is aiming to beat his previous time of 4 days 10 hours.


The leaders had crossed into Limburg during the end of day 3 and were making their way through the selection of killer climbs. They might not look like much compared to famous climbs Mont ventoux, but with 1600+km in your legs, you really feel it. Bernd Paul (cap 121) was closing in on Daan Marsman (cap 31), but wasn't able to make up the distance. Last years winner Bas Vlaskamp (cap 1) was fighting shermers kneck, and chose to stop in Sittard (~1720km).

Further back, riders were enjoying passing the all important half way point, and the mental milestone that the finish is now closer than the start.


The leg north of Amsterdam takes in the historic villages of Vollendam, and Edam, crossing the lock gates at Edam did cause some issues for some riders...


Elsewhere Francien Peterse (cap 10) completed 256km from Almere to Zandvoort. Her consistant pace and distance each day is proving to be key to a successful finish.


Florine Koning (cap 58) put in a strong day, stopping for the day just north of Hoorn. She had hoped the low winds would be benificial but seems to be having some knee and leg soreness limiting how far she could push.

Marianne Thissen-Smits (cap 49) has been chasing down Jasmijn, but the gap has started to widen, approaching 250km by the end of day 4. Marianne stopped for the night in Zeeland.

The start of day 4 brought the unfortunate news that Eline van Staarlen (cap 3) has had to scratch, she's been battling knee pain for a couple of days now, which has finally become to much. Eline you've been fantastic, we wish you a speedy recovery, and look forward to seeing you on the startline in 2021.

Marian Bobko (cap 61) continues to make steady progress bringing up the rear as Lantern Rouge.

This update is a bit late in being published due to the trickle of riders coming into Cafe de Proloog is starting to become a steady stream.


Ferry Interviews - Alex Schmitt (cap 55)

On Monday morning I cycled out to the IJmuiden ferry to interview the first few riders as they headed south. I'll be publishing some of them over the week. This is out first with Alex Schmitz (cap 55). The audio is in a mix of German and English. A transcript is included with the German translated into English in italic.


J: What's your name and camp number?

A: Alex, Alex Schmitz, cap 55

J: How are you doing?

A: Ja, es ist anstrengend. Die Taktik. In kleinen Zielen versuch Ich heute die 1350 kilometer zu erreichen. Ja, wir muessen den Koerper reinhorschen um zu schauen wie es in jene Situation doch bewerkstelligd werden kann.

Yeah, it's hard. The tactics. In terms of small goals, today I try to reach the 1350 kilometer mark. Yeah, I'll have to throw the body into it to see how this can be achieved under these conditions.

J: How much sleep did you have?

A: Every night maximum 3 hours. 4 hours rest and 3 hours sleep.

Thank you to the kind dot watcher for transcribing and translating the interview.

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