Day 4 of the 13th Annual 5-day SUP 11-City Tour
The stage Franeker-Dokkum always takes place on a Saturday. This stage to the most northern 11 City Dokkum is also the first day of the weekend stage.
The start line in Franeker is a bit narrow and offers plenty excitement. A lot of bridges are lined up after the start, so it is also fun to follow the fleet for the supporters.
The weather was good; not as hot as the previous days with the wind in the back; a dream in stand up paddling. One big squall of rain came through, but was not a deal breaker. Thankfully the weather was cooperating again in the afternoon.
On this stretch there are 2 docks that block the waterways for the paddlers. They have to grab their board without any support and run/walk ahead to the next stretch of water. When you are good, you can make up time!
The Frisian and only word for that is “klunen” and it stems from the ice skaters who ‘walk’ on rugs over land when the ice is too weak or roads needs to be crossed. Paddlers need to be careful to not damage their board or fin.
Dirk the Beuf (Belgium), James van Drunen (Spain) and John (Denmark) had no idea a heated start of the SUP 11-City Tour day 1 would lead to a stay in the hospital. Thankfully these guys came back today to hang out with the crew and to be part of the event in better health and good spirits.
The resting point was like usual in Oude Leye. It is the 2nd dock where the paddlers need to get out of the water. Since there is a lot of space here, the Tour and the Race both had their moment to rest, refill & recharge here.
The 2nd half of the stage starts pitoresk passing beautiful wind mills. After Batlehiem, Burdaard comes along within 8 kilometers where some paddlers get of their board to enjoy a coffee & apple pie! But the last 10 km of the broad waterways and open fields can come across a bit boring as it seems never ending before you paddle into Dokkum to the finish after 43 kilometers.
A few fun facts of today: It was last year exactly when Anne Merkus (21 years old) paddled for the first time with her mum Tineke Merkus (we know for many years as one of our participants) the weekend stage. Today Anne completed the 4th day in the 5 day event again with her mother. I can’t wait to see her face tomorrow in Leeuwarden when she receives her first 11 City cross. And here you have it: The weekend stage is the perfect ‘try out’ before doing the 5 day event the following year.
There wasn’t a lot of trash along the route. Between the same 3 SUP Clean Uppers as yesterday, only 2 bags of trash were taken from the waters today. This is a good sign. And when you don’t need to stop as often to pick up trash, you have time to stop for a cupper on the way.
Tomorrow I will focus more on the competition side of things and the final podium places. The entire final stage of 27 kilometers Dokkum-Leeuwarden will also be a time trial for the competitors. Let’s see if the podium places get switched up or if our usual suspects can hold the lead.
Today however WAS exciting.
Off course you like to know the times of everyone who raced their heart out today… please have a look at the results from today.