A little belated, but last Friday marked the 100th anniversary of the first official Elfstedentocht in the Netherlands held on 2 January 1909. As if on cue to celebrate, Europe had a cold snap and the canals were frozen. While a thaw is expected, dreams of the first Elfstedentocht since 1997 were shared by many a Dutchman (and skaters around the world as well). It appears from several videos and photos of the recent freeze that the ice was good, with the skaters comfortably skating over smooth ice in clap skates and traditional long-track speedskates. Not every Elfstedentocht had it so well...the 1963 race was infamous for its difficult conditions and the winner was 3 1/2 hours slower than the winning time in 1954.
Video from Radio Netherlands Worldwide. http://www.radionetherlands.nl/currentaffairs/region/netherlands/090102-Eleven-Cities-Tour-mc
Editor - Jim
This blog weighs in on topics such as long-distance skating, the Illinois canals, cycling, and a variety of related (and occasionally not-so-related) topics. I'd like to correspond with others interested in skating the Hennepin and I&M canals.