Riders in the storm: Dutch cyclists brave Storm Ciara in ‘Headwind Championships’

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A competitor battles gale force winds during the Dutch Headwind Cycling Championships on the storm barrier Oosterscheldekering near Neeltje Jans, south-western Netherlands, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. (AP)
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A competitor battles gale force winds during the Dutch Headwind Cycling Championships on the storm barrier Oosterscheldekering near Neeltje Jans, south-western Netherlands, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. (AP)
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A participant gestures during the sixth edition of the Dutch Championships Headwind bikes on the Oosterscheldekering in Vrouwenpolder on February 9, 2020. (AFP)
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A competitor battles gale force winds during the Dutch Headwind Cycling Championships on the storm barrier Oosterscheldekering near Neeltje Jans, south-western Netherlands, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. (AP)
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A competitor wearing a onesie with Brussels sprouts battles gale force winds during the Dutch Headwind Cycling Championships on the storm barrier Oosterscheldekering near Neeltje Jans, south-western Netherlands, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 09 February 2020

Riders in the storm: Dutch cyclists brave Storm Ciara in ‘Headwind Championships’

  • Intrepid band of cyclists made the most of the conditions to take part in the Dutch Headwind Cycling Championships

NEELTJE JANS, Netherlands: Call them riders in the storm.
While much of northern Europe hunkered down Sunday and hoped that Storm Ciara would blow over quickly with its hurricane-force winds, an intrepid band of cyclists made the most of the conditions to take part in the Dutch Headwind Cycling Championships.
The ingredients were simple: A basic bicycle with no gears, no featherweight carbon race frame, no drop handlebars, strong legs, steely resolve and wind. Lots of wind.

Yet completing the 8.5-kilometer (5.3-mile) course along the coast of Zeeland province in the southern Netherlands and across a storm water barrier as heavy winds blasted riders with sand from nearby beaches was anything but simple, even for experienced riders. Organizers provided vomit buckets at the end.
“I survived, but it’s very tough,” said 56-year-old Hans Deting, his right hand dripping with blood after he was blown off his bike.
Ultimately, the gale-force winds became too strong even for this punishing event. Organizers brought the race to an early end after 250 of the 300 riders had finished.

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READ MORE: Storm Ciara hits UK and Europe with hurricane-force winds, causing travel chaos

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While the idea of plowing headfirst into a major storm on a bicycle may sound like madness, it’s surprisingly popular in the Netherlands, where many people commute to work by bicycle despite wind or rain. Some 11,000 people expressed interest online in taking part but organizers only had a maximum of 300 places available.
This was, organizers say, as close as you can get in the largely pancake-flat Netherlands to tackling an Alpine stage in a bike race.
“We call this the Dutch mountain,” organizer Robrecht Stoekenbroek told The Associated Press. “It’s like climbing a 10% slope on the worst bike you can imagine.”
With red-and-white wind socks snapping in the wind, riders hunched over their handlebars in a desperate attempt to remain as aerodynamic as possible. Many competitors wore tight Lycra cycling clothes.
One man made a bold fashion statement by wearing a onesie emblazoned with Brussels sprouts over his cycling gear.
Crossing the Oosterscheldekering storm barrier, riders weaved across the cycle path as they struggled to maintain their balance.
“There’s nowhere to hide,” Stoekenbroek said.
Many participants, who rode one-by-one against the clock, weren’t too interested in their times. It was simply about completing the event.
“This is a bucket list thing,” Edwin van Gaalen said, as he leaned, gasping for breath, on his handlebars after finishing.
He paused to further explain.
“When you’ve done it once, you want to do it twice. And more and more and more, because this is an experience you have to experience,” he said. “So I can talk a lot about this, but you have to take part of this to feel the wind, to feel the experience, to get it all.”


Florida offers drive-through Botox to quarantined residents

Updated 04 June 2020

Florida offers drive-through Botox to quarantined residents

  • US state allowed a partial relaxing of restrictions imposed to slow the coronavirus pandemic
  • Elective medical procedures resume, including Botox injections and cosmetic surgery

MIAMI: Quarantined Florida residents worried about their laughter lines and crows’ feet need frown no longer — Botox is back, and it’s being offered at a drive-through.
On May 4, the US state allowed a partial relaxing of restrictions imposed to slow the coronavirus pandemic. That means certain elective medical procedures could resume, including Botox injections and cosmetic surgery.
Michael Salzhauer, a plastic surgeon known as ‘Dr. Miami’ who has also starred in a reality television show, has been conducting drive-through Botox injections in the garage of his building in the posh Miami neighborhood of Bal Harbor.
Salzhauer said the idea struck him as he was sitting in his car waiting for a blood test for COVID-19 antibodies.
“The areas that we inject Botox are the upper face, exactly the parts of the face that aren’t covered by the mask so it’s really ideal,” Salzhauer said, while wearing a mask, face shield and surgical gown as he waited for his next drive-up patient.
Patients sign up online, paying an average of $600 each for a stippling of shots across their foreheads.
Arman Ohevshalom, 36, was enthusiastic as he waited in line with his wife in their car, although it was their first time receiving the injections.
“It’s very creative, and after seeing how they’re running it I feel just as comfortable as I would in the office,” he said.
Florida’s tattoo artists, however, are frustrated. Shuttered since March, they asking why they cannot open, too.
Botox injections are “kind of like tattooing, he’s injecting stuff into the skin,” said tattoo shop owner Chico Cortez. Florida is home to about 10,000 working tattoo artists, according to the Florida Professional Tattoo Artist Guild.
An emailed statement from a Miami-Dade County spokesperson said Mayor Carlos Gimenez has yet to set a date for reopening tattoo shops. “He is working with industry members and the medical experts to come up with the best way to reopen safely,” it said.