News - February 9, 2012

One chance for the Eleven Towns Tour

Who? Klaas Swart, 61, assistant professor of Genetics
What? He has sharpened his skates and he's getting psyched up
Why? He is a winner in the draw to skate in the elfstedentocht.
When? That's the million dollar question. Sunday?

Is it likely to go ahead?
‘I very much doubt it still, but we have to take the possibility seriously. Mental preparations have definitely begun. I've been checking my diary to see what I might have to change. My provisions will consist of currant and muesli rolls and energy bars. But they can't work wonders, and I am trying to keep to my usual eating habits as much as possible.'
Have you already arranged somewhere to sleep?
‘Not finalized yet, but I do have family close to Leeuwarden, so it shouldn't take more than a phone call.'
Are you fit enough?
‘I was among the draw winners, but I still have a way to go. Basically, I am pretty fit, but my stamina and skating form are not great. I feel good on the skates, but I haven't done much real distance training. I don't want to over-train, but I will try to put in a few hours this week on the inlet down by the Rhine.'
Is that enough?
‘If it does happen, I certainly won't have skated more than 100 kilometres at one go. So at around 130 kilometres it will start getting really tough. But it is one of my dearest wishes to skate in this race. If it goes ahead, I will set aside everything else for it. I am 61 and I think this will be my only chance.'