So, there is still a race report due: Petra (she rides a 26er, nobody’s perfect) and me participated in the Rothaus Bike Marathon in Singen, Baden-Württemberg, close to Lake Konstanz, on the first weekend of July.
We did the 3-hours-drive from Munich on Saturday evening. When we had reached Singen we booked into a youth hostel (where already a school class of maybe 15 year olds had checked in), failed to get our number plates (they closed the counter at 6 and we reached it at 6:05), discovered that Singen is probably not the most beautiful city of Germany and finally found an acceptable looking Italian restaurant. The rest of the evening was fun, however I had a bad conscience when we finally went to sleep: A huge Pizza Gorgonzola, a couple of beers, a big black coffee and way too much Ice-cream is probably not the best way to spend the evening before a race.
Nevertheless I felt physically good and mentally confident when the race-day began at six in the morning (maybe because our 15-year-old friends were surprisingly absent through the night). We picked up our number plates, assembled the bikes, had a long breakfast and went down to the start. I had signed up for the long distance (75 km, 1.550 metres of climbing) and Petra was lining up for the middle distance (50 km, 1.000 metres of climbing). I was pretty sure that the big problem of the day would be the time limit: For the long track we had to ride first the middle track completely and then again just the first half of the middle track. If somebody would be lapped by the leader (which was going to be German Pro Tim Böhme) before starting his second lap (the half one) he was going to be taken out of the race. In my opinion that was an unfair rule, because we didn’t know how fast we had to go during the first lap. And needless to say: I was the only Singlespeeder. So, everything ready for a laid back Sunday.
The race began and the dry and dusty course through the volcanic landscape of the Hegau region turned out to be a constant up and down of approximately 100 metres of climbing followed by 100 metres of descent followed by 100 metres of climbing and so on. There were quite a lot of grass-passages in it and also some kilometres of quite good singletracks. In combination with a total lack of shadow on almost the whole course it was quite challenging.
The atmosphere was good and many people encouraged this strange freak on a singlespeed bike. Besides the course many spectators had lined up and were shouting us up the hills. At one point a rather fast looking licence guy who was racing the middle course slowed down, rode beside me and said: “Finally a 29er! And a singlespeeder! You’re already my personal hero of the day.” I was giving my usual “thanks-but-it’s-not-as-tough-as-it-looks-answer” and he asked again: “You ride the middle track I assume?” When I answered that I was doing the long course he knew nothing more to say. I know, telling this story is probably showing off, but it just felt so good to be encouraged like that!
After aid station one I was really riding at the limit. Constantly I was turning my head around to see if the leading motorcycle that was riding in front of Böhme was showing up behind me. At aid station two Böhme still hadn’t reached me. When I hit Singen again, I knew I had done it. At the begin of my second lap I was tired, but sure to finish. A couple of years ago I would have probably ridden myself into the ground from this point on. But obviously I am capable to learn at least the basic stuff. So, I calmed down and just relaxed for around 12k. After the last aid I tried to push myself again, but it was quite hard now. Most of the time I was riding totally alone and at the steepest climb of the race I had to get of the bike and walk. Thanks to some gels I reached the finish line with a race time of 4 hours and 2 minutes. I was afraid to be pretty much at the end of the field, but I was surprised when I looked at the results: Place 112 in total of 155.
Right after finish I felt really destroyed. But after I had met Petra (she also had a good race) we ate a Bratwurst, had a cold shower and slowly I started to feel normal again and capable of driving back to Munich. All in all a really fun-weekend.
And not to forget: It was the first race for our new team kit – many thanks go to Biciclista in Italy for providing me with the coolest uniform ever!