Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Fietselfstedentocht 2012 - last finisher


The Fietselfstedentocht, an annual event which was held yesterday, is a 240 km long ride through 11 different cities in Friesland.

This video is about Wiebe Idsinga, the last person to finish yesterdays' ride. The people in the broom wagon convinced him to take a ride with just 3 km left to go, and he was a little late finishing (you have to finish before midnight), but he still got a medal. Quite right too. I'm humbled.

No English language subtitles and I won't try to explain what is being said (largely in Frisian). I don't think you need any of that. Suffice to say that at the end he wants to ride his bike home, but the organisers convince him to take a lift.

Update 2013
This year, Wiebe Idsinga again finished the Elfstedentocht after an epic 17.5 hour ride ! Now a very popular hero:

The broadcaster, Omrop Fryslân, deservedly won a prize for their coverage of his ride in 2012 in video at the top.

Thanks to Herbert Tiemens for making me notice the video.

21 comments:

fuzzie said...

Would it be possible to get an english subtitle for this video? This man is made of iron and i would love to read his take on what transpires in the video.

Thank you.

David Hembrow said...

Fuzzie: I was going to say no, based on the fact that for the last five years I've been so busy learning Dutch that I've barely learnt any words of the Fries language, that I have a life to get on with, many things to do, and that this would actually take a lot of time. I was thinking of suggesting that if you think it's such a good idea, you could do it yourself.

However, then I thought about it. Why not ? After all, I have a correspondent with a sense of entitlement on my blog who "would love to read his take". How could I possibly say no ? I'll start learning the Fries language today. If I do that full time it shouldn't take many years to become reasonably fluent. Then I'll run through the video a few times until I've understood every word of a man with a strong accent who is sometimes a little short of breath, write it down, double check it, get in touch with the company whose video this is and convince them to add my subtitles. It'll be ready some time around 2019.

anniebikes said...

Wow. That video brought tears to my eyes. Thanks.

Paul Martin said...

Beautiful...

David said...

The "Fries language"? It's Frisian, not Fries. "Fries" is the Dutch word for the language; "Frysk" is the word in Frisian itself. I can understand reluctance to learn a minority language while still trying to learn the state language, but really... getting the name of the language wrong in English?


This item is really more interesting in what it shows about Frisians. You have the stubborn old Frisian who insists on keeping going, while you also have other Frisians out there encouraging him on. On top of that, there are the reporters from Omrop Fryslân who took it upon themselves to seek out the last man in event.

fuzzie said...

Oh, I never felt entitled to a translation. I asked if it was possible. Apparently the answer is 'no'.

I didn't realise there was such a difference between regular Dutch and Fries. I didn't even know that the fellow spoke something called Fries.

It's a shame you felt so upset by my question that you feel it was necessary to ridicule it.

I hope that we can have a respectful discourse in the future without resorting to ridicule and scorn.

David said...

I had the chance to show this to my Frisian-speaking mother (she learned the language from her parents in Canada) and she had some trouble understanding him due mainly to the slurring (as opposed to a "strong" accent). Nevertheless, she could make out quite a bit of what he was saying, and could readily understand what everyone else was saying.

At the beginning of the video, he is told he still has 35 km to go. At the first stoppage, he is told that it is past midnight and the race is officially over and he won't have any further support. The couple themselves say that they're heading to bed. The pair of young people drinking beer are apparently race marshals relaxing long after the race was over. At the second stoppage, he is told - in Dutch - that he must stop or he won't get recognition for what he has done so far, and after that he is driven to the end.

The most amusing part of the video though is after he gets his medal when he declares that he is going to ride home on his bike. You can see one of the officials put his face into his hands in exasperation (you might make out the word "problem" in there) since he apparently lives some distance from the race terminus (I believe he lives in Frjentsjer (Franeker) while the race ended in Boalsert (Bolsward), some 15 km away). Instead they offer him a ride home.

David Hembrow said...

fuzzie: Sorry, that was an over-reaction on my part. We never stop working, at the moment I have a cold, and the first comment on this story seemed to be asking for more. Anyway, I apologize.

David: Thanks for your constructive comments. That the guy proposed to cycle home at the end struck me as particularly amusing.

bicycledutch said...

David got most of the story. At the beginning they ask him if he doesn't sit up straight because he is tired, but he claims that's because of his replacement hips!
But then I think the couple says they will keep following him because they couldn't go to bed knowing he'll be riding on. That's indeed about 30kms before the end with 10 minutes to go at 23:50hrs. Then at 00:30am they finally get him to stop by saying he'll get the medal if he does (that's 30 minutes past the last time to arrive and with not have ridden the whole distance).
Then the video ends at 00:50hrs (!) when he gets the medal, after which they ask him how he got to the race in the morning. The answer is obvious: by bike and he intends to go back home the same way. They indeed don't let him go home like that, they couldn't take the responsibility. So he is taken home in the van and they can all have a traditional drink and go to bed.
Very touching video! I can't get all the Frysk, but most is somewhat understandable. Especially in the context. But I understand completely that you don't David!

bicycledutch said...

oh where I wrote 23:50hrs it is really 22:50hrs and 30km to go. So it took him another hour and 40 minutes to cycle about 27kms to reach his destination at 3kms before the finish at 00:30hrs.
What a spirit! The touching parts are when they joke that the replacement hips must be placed crooked and he says, "yes one of them is". And the part when they ask who's waiting for him at the finish and he says "there's nobody waiting for me anymore, but I am quite content".

David said...

Having completed my first Fietselfstedentocht on Monday I hope I will have his strength and character to be able to do so when I am his age. He is a credit to the Frisians.

Anonymous said...

I got all choked up watching this video (even without subtitles).

Koen said...

Oh, this man is quite a character! Two replacement hips and stil going strong! I'm so glad they awarded him the medal, he deserved it twice as much as people that completed the ride in half his time.

Koen said...

Oh and the organisation of the tour is mostly run by volunteers, which explains how they really want to go to bed after a very long day....
The driver said he would take the man home, and then have a 'Sonnema' (Beerenburg, a strong Frisian alcoholic drink) and sit in his chair before going to bed.

Bob said...

Thankfully after living in the Netherlands for that year a while back, I can get about half of what was said.
I think the tears started to flow at about the half way mark for the old guy. Such determination.
Thanks for posting this. I have to share it with some of my Dutch friends back home.
I wonder just how many kilometres he's pedalled his whole life?

Frits B said...

This very video can be watched here with Dutch subtitles:
http://www.dumpert.nl/mediabase/2155151/2d20e4fe/fietsopa_is_een_eindbaas.html
Subtitles in yellow, remarkably good to read :-).

Anonymous said...

the man is 65 years old.
the two boys were spectators cheering the cyclists

Anonymous said...

Great to see how interested you all are in the film we made with Wiebe Idsinga, the man who finished last. Sorry we didn't provide any english subtitles (yet) but a dutch subtitled version is now on Youtube.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fpaU8C-714 So maybe you can first start to figure it out in Dutch, and then perhaps in Frisian. If you can't I'd be happy to help you out. Greetings, Margreet Hiemstra,editor-in-chief of Omrop Fryslân

David Hembrow said...

Thank you Margreet. It's really a lovely film, and Wiebe is now the hero of many. I've updated the blog post to use the version with Dutch subtitles.

margreet hiemstra said...

And in case you want to know: 65 year old Wiebe Idsinga is a much better cyclist than a walker.This was his 30th Elfstedentocht and it was his last, he has decided. He has cabinets full of medals and other trophys from all the cyclingtrips he has made in his live. And not only in Friesland.Because of problems with his hips he had only cycled around 700 km this year prior to the elfstedenfietstocht.
Margreet Hiemstra editor-in-chief Hea! www.omropfryslan.nl

Anonymous said...

What a spirit, indeed!
Though I found it disappointing they stopped him 3km from the finish line after being patient for such a long time :(

btw: for me as german native speaker reading fries or dutch is not too difficult although I haven't learned the language. Even understanding speech works quite well.