(2006-04-23) The "Batavierenrace", Me And The DEC Chicken!
Posted by Jorge on 2006-04-23
Yes, it happened again! For the 34th time the "batavierenrace" occurred between Nijmegen en Enschede. For me, this year it is the 8th time I joined the bikers league to protect the runners from the traffic during the race…
The chicken I got at DEC "joined" me in this adventure! ;-))
For those who do not know what the "batavierenrace" is I will explain it in a few words. More information and pictures can be found at http://www.batavierenrace.nl/.
The "batavierenrace" is the largest relay run and occurs always in the end of the month April. In 2006 it was the 34th time this relay run was being held. The route starts at the university of Nijmegen, through Germany, through different cities and towns in the Netherlands and ends in Enschede at the university. The total distance is about 185 km and is divided into 25 stages (17 stages for the gents and 8 stages for the ladies). Each year more than 8000 athletes participate in this relay run. This run has made into the Guinness Book of Records because of the largest number of students that participate.
The race starts on Friday at 23.59 and ends on Saturday at about 19.00. During that period 4 large groups of bikers (in total about 150 bikers) help to protect the runners from the traffic on dangerous points and intersections and they also regulate the traffic. Each year, my biker buddies and I meet at the university in Eindhoven at 19.15 and depart to Nijmegen at about 19.30. In Nijmegen we get instructions and material from our group leader and from the police concerning the traffic thing. Just after midnight our group departs so that at least two bikers are "dropped" at each dangerous point/intersection.
This year a colleague from LogicaCMG (Kim on a Ducati Monster) and I (on a Suzuki TL 1000S) were dropped in the middle of the night at point that was a bridge over the highway in Germany. Just before we arrived there it started raining and there was no freakin place to seek shelter from the rain! ;-( We had to wait for the first runner to pass and until the last runner passed through before we could go to another point.
Suddenly, we got an SMS the complete race was stopped right after it started. Reason? Well, someone decided to kill him/herself using a moving train (not someone from the race) and because the race crossed the train tracks the police did not allow anyone to come nearby. The race was delayed for about 2 hours before it restarted. I hope nobody saw/witnessed the accident, because I can imagine that is not a pretty thing to look at. It always makes me think like "what in this freakin’ world is so bad and cannot be solved that someone decides to do something like that". I guess I’ll never know or even understand the answer to that. I do hope this person’s family can cope with what happened, because it will not be easy for them!
Meanwhile, Kim (my colleague) and I were still waiting in the rain for the first runner to pass. We decided to go back to a nearby gasstation to seek shelter from the rain. It was wet and cold and sh*t I hate that! As soon as the first runner passed us we jumped on our bikes to go to our point. At the moment the first runner passed, it already did not rain anymore. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Generally almost every driver on the road stops when we signal to so that the runners can safely pass. However sometimes, stupid drivers don’t obey our signals and just don’t stop whereas they put us and the runners in danger.
After that point, we went to our second point and then to our third point. Because of the delay of the race and because we arrived too early at our third point we decided to take a nap (about 1 hour) on the ground at a parking lot where other bikers we also resting. Trust, when you are really tired, anything is good to sleep on, even on the ground! ;-)) We woke because Kim’s phone rang. It was our group leader asking where we were, because we were at the wrong point and Rob was on his own at the point where we should also be. Oops, sorry. 😉 A few minutes later we arrived at our third point and helped Rob.
After the third point we went to Enschede to the center of the city where the last and final stage of the race started. Just before the start ALL bikers went to stadium at the university to wait for the runners to appear and when everyone starts making a crap load of noise to encourage all runners. After the last runner gets over the finishing line everyone drops his/her material at his group leader, gets his key for the room to sleep in and gets ready to eat and have a few drinks. In the meantime a huge party is going on at the university.
As always, it was one heck of a happening again! I do hope the organization has better food for everyone that helped next year because this year it was bad. I also hope they choose a better location and communicate that for everyone that wants to relax and have a few drinks without the noise (very loud music) of the different parties going on. After being awake for about almost 40 hours the last thing you want is huge party with lots of noise.
Until next year (2007) on april 27th, 28th and 29th!
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