Monthly Archives: August 2009

Eigerbike, marathon racing in the shadow of the big swiss mountains

Sunday was swiss  “Eigerbike” day. With briliant weather, a bit hot with up top 30-32°C, but blue skies and marvelous sights it was just great. If you are high up at 2100m and you see the glaciers up at 4000m, you feel like heaven and hell are very close.

Mother of all Uphills, this Race is hard. I knew that would be tough, beeing the swiss race with the steepest uphills and the highest climb/km ratio. And I got my share of suffering, thats for sure. I have done the smaller 55km already 2 or 3 years ago and was  fully cooked after that one then, so I knew I had to start slow, otherwise I wouldnt make it. Start was fine however, the first 1000m climb was good and I felt well. During the second steep uphill then I have got foot pain, back ache, head ache and my stomach didnt accept anything, so I reduced the pressure and took it slowlier. My collegue went away then and was 16min faster overall. Somehow I recovered then, and felt ok after the first 60km.

Being not done yet, a third climb of a little more than 1100m awaited me. Meanwhile it was really hot and sunny. And it was a long uphill, but finally I made it. The time was anyway no issue, but I was really happy to finish in 8.04h, loosing only 3 hours to the first in my age category!! Before the race I changed my gears to 22/36 to 11-34, but I nearly only used the small granny, being to big for some parts still. I really missed my 20t granny, but I am getting to much chain sucks with the 20t. Some problems with the rear shifter didnt let me put pressure on any gear beside the 3 smallest without chain hopping, but these three were anyway what I used 90% of the time.

However, it worked out finally and I am happy. And it was fun! The trails were better and more challenging than I thought and remembered. Still a lot is done on tarmac, it could be better with some longer downhill sections, buts thats like it is. Currently I am a bit tired, but all, legs, brain, stomach, works, so I am fine. Depending on the weather to come, it might be that the race was my seasons highlight and I can only recommend it to everybody not knowing the area yet. We had a LOT racers from Holland, Belgium, Britain, Spain and so on and the camping (called “Eiger Nordwand”) was really great.  See you next year?

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SIS 2009

Looks like rain...because it is!

Looks like rain...because it is!

He always comes out smiling!

He always comes out smiling!

WOW! Is all I can I say about SIS 2009. This year was my first time in Weidenthal, and man was it AWESOME!  Lots of 29er’s, singlespeeder’s, freaks, a recumbent and a unicycle!

For me, riding at night is something new and strange. I really didn’t know what to expect. I was about to find out what it means to check out your gear BEFORE a night race.

The first lap was cool, I passed the guy on the recumbent, that guy was brave to ride that thing off-road. Lights were really not needed on the first lap but it was mandatory. On the Second though it was dark and lights were a must. About a third of the way through the second lap my light went out, I had no back-up so I was in the dark! Luckily I was able to ride with Andreas from Düsseldorf, Germany, and he brought me safely through to the pits. After my second light was mounted I took off full of confidence for my fourth lap. On the first downhill section the light slipped down and I had to keep adjusting it so I could see. At one point it came off the bars! I was riding one handed, one on the light and one on the bars! Back at the start/finished area my son Eric taped the snot out the mounting bracket so it wouldn’t slip. The battery for the other light was charged by this time, so that was also mounted and off I went into the fourth lap with two functional lights!

After that the time just flew by and the race was over. I was pretty tired and hungry for something other than powerbar or nutella bread.

I’ll be back next year for sure! My son is also now infected with the SIS virus, he wants to race next year. I’m already thinking about better and more reliable lights, like a Supernova E-3 with a dynamo hub. I have one year to get it ready! J

Phil

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12 Hrs. Of Külsheim July 18, 2009

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The face of determination

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Tougher than it looks

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Zoom!

Around the puddle

Around the puddle

This was a brand new experience for as I’ve never done anyting like this before. So needless to say I was kind of nervous.

I arrived on Friday evening about the time as Michael and Kira Cleveland who drove up from München. We had never meet in person before but I felt like I already knew Michael since we’ve corresponded over the internet for the past eight months.

On Friday night it rained and rained, sometime in the wee hours of Saturday morning it stopped. The damage was done though, the course was thoroughly soaked and promised to be a muddy event, oh well, maybe my single would be the best choice for the conditions.

I didn’t sleep very well the night before, uneven ground, shitty ground pad and around five in the morning a screaming baby.

After a quick breakfast and a hectic preparation the race was underway. I started as usual way to fast and tried riding up everything. Lucky for me though I slowed myself down and just rode an even pace. I didn’t think that would last more than four or five hours but I just went on auto pilot and rode and rode. Kind of like a trance, the time just flew by! Then it started to rain and the course went bad, it had almost dried out. Two of the downhills were like mud chutes; it was a controlled (sometimes) downhill slide for the riders. After ten hours the race was called, I don’t think anyone was unhappy about that decision.

Even though the Geax Saguaros are not mud tires they still hooked up good in all but the worst mud, they roll really fast and aren’t not prone to flats like the racing Ralph’s. My Ergon grips kept my hands from going numb after ten hours of riding, very comfortable grips.

I finished the race in sixth place out 32 starters; I think Marty and I were the only single speeders riding solo. It was a great time and I’m looking forward to SIS in August.

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