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The Olympic sailors held their Tour de Fryslân last week: four days of sailing, foiling, biking and promoting the sport. It was hardly an alternative to the Olympic games that they prepared for, but fun anyway. I was invited to join them for riding the bike in the SouthWestern part of Friesland: a little over 100 km in D1 zone (=low heart beat).

I was pretty nervous to join them, D1 for them would mean probably D3 for me. I tracked them on Strava and found out that their average pace is 5km/hour faster than mine. Doesn’t sound much but is actually 20%. I told myself that I wanted to keep up with them till Hindeloopen (halfway) and then was allowed to find a shortcut back to the finish. We started with 30km/h headwind and it became clear to me that I needed to stay in the peloton if I wanted to reach Hindeloopen. Never raced in a peloton before and it’s true that it makes life easier. Together you are way stronger than individually. I mastered riding a few centimeters behind the wheel in front of me. That took my full concentration, I hardly saw anything from the beautiful (?) environment. So I missed the small hill that raised the adrenaline levels of my fellow bikers. They sprinted uphill, left me in their wake and I couldn’t get back anymore. We were only halfway to Stavoren…

But then the World champions Kiran Badloe and Lilian de Geus showed up. ‘Hey Hein, stay close to us and we’ll get you back. Let’s go for coffee in Hindeloopen.’ They found the pace that I felt comfortable with and brought me back. Emotions run deep in these moments, I felt so much love and gratitude that I completed the full tour with all of them.

When I interviewed them for my book ‘Passion for Performance’ they told me that the teamculture of performance with love and camaraderie was their biggest asset. I’m truly happy to have felt this power.


Nice video by Sil Hoekstra, check out how fast these foilers are!

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