12 Hours of Külsheim 2011
This is one of my favorite one day races in Germany; a fun course, great organisation and a cool atmosphere. Last year due to injuries sustained on the Tour Divide I had to sit it out. This year was going to be different.
Well, last month I took part in Grenzstein Trophy, a self-supported race along the old inner Germany border. I had to quit early due to knee problems. So going into Külsheim I was a little worried about my knee; would it hold up? Or would I have to bail on this race too?
This was to be my first race on my new bike: a Niner One 9 Single speed. On it some parts from various sponsors of Big Wheel Racing; like a White Bros. Magic 80 fork, ZTR Arch rims from Stan’s Notubes, Geax AKA tires and an assortment of parts from Singlespeed.NL. All worked flawlessly. The Geax tires roll really fast and have great traction in dry to moist conditions.
I started out as usual too fast but after two laps settled into a good rhythm. The weather was near perfect; maybe towards miday a little too hot but better than rain. The course was nice and dry and fast. My lap times were between 32 – 35 minutes through out the race. I took my first break at about the four hour mark and ate a sandwich. By then it was really beginning to heat up. I was popping Endurolytes from Hammer Products on every-other lap to keep me going. They worked too because I didn’t have an issue with cramps.
At the half way point I was starting to have doubts that I could go another 6 hours; after all I’d had ridden already 100 km. Somehow though you just keep going; taking it lap by lap, or better yet, section by section. I had my favourite parts; like the big whoop section where I could air it out a bit. If I caught it right I was able to fly over the last whoop motocross style.
At the eight hour mark I needed another break and I needed some food other than energy bars; something salty. So Eric got me a cheese sandwich, or the German equivalent of one, tasty nonetheless. I have to say though that the cliff bars are the best tasting energy bars out there and they’re effective. Also the Cliff Shots are great; my favorite is the double espresso. I was alternating between one bottle with pur water and the other one with Carbo Rocket; good stuff, not too sweet but very effective and easy on the stomach.
On my 18th lap I started to notice that my left side crank arm was loose, so when I came back into the pits I tightened it down. Rene, a guy I met on the GST this year, rode up to me; he was lapping me. Anyway, we rode our last lap together and had some time to chat a bit.
Out of a field of 35 solo riders I finished in 7th place with 19 laps. I was very satisfied with my result and wouldn’t have done better with gears. There is no single speed category or age categories; otherwise I probably would have landed a podium spot. The main thing is that I had a great time and my knee held up, no pain what so ever.