As soon as the car is parked, I get out and continue on foot. Evelien is left behind.
With the route on my smartphone's screen, I'm looking for something resembling a bike path. In other words, a path that can be used as a guide for mountain bikes. According to the drenthe 200 app, that's nearby.
Drenthe 200, not just any sporting event. An ultramarathon for mountain bike, fatbike or cyclocrosser of 200 kilometers through Drenthe and a small part of Friesland.
The forest shows few hints, so I'll make the area for exploration a little bigger. Once outside the piece of forest, I suddenly see a yellow sign in my corner of the eye behind low-hanging branches. Would the route for Drenthe 200 have already been plotted?
As I get closer, I see something completely different. It's Strava. Another app that centralizes user results so that the mutual speeds etc. compared. This sign indicates the starting point of the so-called segment with a length of 1.1 kilometers. The map shows the route. Whatever i'm familiar with. This is exactly the shape that the map of Drenthe 200 indicates here.
Exploration Drenthe 200, the trail on site
I decide to walk the entire route. I would have thought I'd choose the point in such a way that I could shoot three directions at once. Once here, I realize that the distances for that are too great and the visibility for that is probably too much obstructed. A picture in the forest is not special enough. There's got to be some action. The cockpit bends offer options. Halfway through, I run into a bump. With the right speed, two wheels can get off the ground here. I look at the area and keep this in mind as a preliminary first choice and run again.
The soil is hard, there are almost no puddles, several bumps with minimal height difference, in a place I come across some roots, so the trail is not very heavy. The advantage for me as a photographer is that there is little to be caught up here and the participants can therefore photograph one by one. It is expected that about 1,100 will appear at the start, which can leave every few minutes from 06:00 per group. Because of the distance and the route, each gets until 0:00 to reach the finish line.
My point is at mile pole 65. At that moment the field will be slightly fanned, but not yet so that there is a lot of time between the riders. Previous years have shown that the time difference between the fastest and slowest rider is about 3.5 hours. Bad luck or a longer pit-stop may be the cause of this. But if 1,100 participants have to pass in those 3.5 hours, this should be a cyclist every 12 seconds.
Because I don't want to risk missing someone or something because of a full memory card, I bring two more cameras. Warmly dressed, provided with food and drinks I will be present on time. By 13:00 I want to be back in Assen so I can start editing and upload everything to Oypo that evening. Last time I learned that speed is very important, so I know what to do.
Curious about my pictures? You can watch them here: www.oypo.nl/farcows 😉