Monthly Archives: April 2012

Wake up Calls

Riding and freezing in Münsingen

What a year – first we moved from Munich to Stuttgart, than I changed jobs. Taking my time to get out with the bike gets harder and harder. Stuttgart is a perfect place to ride with its many hills and forests close to the city center. On an evening loop of 20 km you easily get in 500 metres of climbing. I only wish I could make more use of this Singletrail city. To force myself into some harder and longer rides, I signed up for two races on the beautiful Swabian Alb. My personal wake up calls for the season 2012.

The first one was the “Frühjahrsmarathon” (aka Spring Marathon) in Münsingen. The German Federal League of Mountainbiking was to hold their XC-races there on Sunday. Traditionally, the Saturday was reserved for the Marathon. The big problem of the day was the temperature. At the start it was freezing three degress. Since the Alb is known for slightly capricious weather I had luckily brought everything I would need in the range between minus five and plus thirty. What I didn’t expect however was how packed the course would be during the first 30 to 45 minutes of the race. Steering a Singlespeed through the racer’s crowd on a steep climb is no fun: When you’re not able to overtake during the climbs it sucks even more if the geared folks rush by on the flat passages. Nevertheless, all in all the race was really ok. In the end of the race, we rode through some of the passages of next day’s XC-track. It was really technical and a good end for a race that otherwise lacked singletracks completely. I finished in 2 hours 11 minutes which I find is not too bad on a singlespeed for 45 km and 940 metres of climbing. Well, at least for the lazy self of mine.

On the next weekend, the Mountainbike Marathon in Veringendorf close to Sigmaringen was my task. The course has 53 km and 1.200 metres of climbing. Doable. However, two things came in the way of a glorious victory: First, I had a cold during the whole week, which finally disappeared in the night before the race. Second, a very good friend of mine had his bachelor party on Saturday where I went and where I drank one or two beers if I remember correctly. Two good excuses.

So, we went to Veringendorf anyway and had a really good day in the end. The course turned out to be one of the better ones I know and although I only had a so-so-day in terms of shape the race was fun: Very fast, very bumpy, very dusty. Oh, and I did something really crazy: Even before I knew of the problems during the week before the race I decided to use my On One Inbred for a race again. This meant: I not only used gears. I also rode a 26-inch-bike. I love the Inbred, it’s a fun bike that I ride quite often. However, when I compare the two race days the advantages of big wheels get pretty obvious again. By the way: I finished midpackish in 2 hours 40 or so.

At the final descent of Veringendorf Marathon

Next race will be the 24 hours of Munich in a four-rider-team. I’m really looking forward, it will be great fun!

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2012 Munich City Bike Marathon is in the bag

Just after the neutral start

As in every year for the last 5 or so, I went and participated in the Munich City Bike Marathon. It’s always my first race of the season and even though I usually end the race wondering why in the world I go, come January of each year I start chomping at the bit to sign up again.

The map for 2012

“Normally” (there’s nothing normal about this race), it’s in the 90 km range and it only has 120 vertical meters or so of climbing but this years due to tree work and an event following the race they shortened the course by 25 km down to 65 km. Well, that is until it started raining anyway.

The race starts and ends at the Munich Olympic Park and the last 5 km or so are run inside the park grounds. Some of that, mostly climbing and descending is done on cobblestones. If you’ve never ridden cobblestones, you should. They’re bumpy as hell and when wet, you might as well be on ice, especially if there’s any hint of mud in the county. In any case, they knocked off another 3.5 km because of the rain. Therefore, the race ended up being 61 km and change. Also, they not only shortened the race but they moved the start to 7:15 in the morning. Ugh. Nothing like having to get up at 5:00 and try to get to a race which starts early but to also start without a warmup and to have it raining…. needless to say, it didn’t start well.

Topping the little hill

Unfortunately for me, I could have used the extra 30 km this year. I’ve been training for the Tour Divide Race so I’ve got a lot of miles in my legs for 2012. In face, I checked today and I’ve already hit 1600 km (not counting the 2-4 times a week we hit spin class in the Winter too) for 2012. Anyway, the distance wasn’t the problem by any means.

The race starts with a “neutral” start which takes the racers across town to the Isar River. It’s really anything but neutral as most people are already jockeying for position to keep from getting stuck behind the slow riders. I got stuck behind a bunch of the riders from the 2nd start and ended up one of the last to leave from my group. I made it to the river, and about 2 km up the river before the motorcycles from the 2nd start group caught and passed me.

I spent the rest of the race pretty much riding alone. For the next 25 km I felt terrible. My heart rate was all over the place and my stomach and legs were anything but happy. It wasn’t until we hit the mid-point of the race by the Alliance Arena (where Bayern München plays soccer) that I started to feel civil again. Suddenly, I started to feel like I had some power in my legs and felt semi-civil again. Coincidentally, that’s about the same time that a lot of the people that had passed me previously started to slow down. I started passing people left and right from there to the finish. Like I said… I wish that I’d had the extra kilometers as I’d have probably managed a much better finish than I had.

This year was the first year that the weather has ever been anything but nice. It was probably part of my early issues both because of being chilly at the start with no warm up but also because I had to wear a rain jacket which then cause me to overheat a bit (for me, that’s usually worse than the cold). In the end I finished 25th in my class at 2:10:04. The winner of my class finished almost a half an hour ahead of of me and he’s 8 years older (58 years old!).


Filed under Races, racing team