Grenzsteintrophy 2013 the fourth lesson
A lot of excitment leading up to this event, as usual. I felt I was mentally prepared and had all my gear down, I just didn’t feel physically top fit. None the less we, Team mate and good friend Michael Cleveland, headed up to Baltic port of Travemünde. We meet with some of the other racers at a local eatery in town and talked about gear and the Tour Divide Race.
After a fitful nights sleep we were up and ready to depart. A quick coffee and pastery at a bakery and we went to the ferry to get across the river to where the start was.
We all gathered at a secluded beach and took pictures until it was time to leave. These events never really feel like a real race at the start, the pace is not too high so if you want you could ride up with the lead group. I decicded to go purposely slow to conserve energy for the coming days.
I’m not going to draw this out and do a minute by minute account of my race, I’m just going to tell how it ended and throw in some pictures.
Day one went really good. Made it past Dannenberg and bivi’d in the woods with Jeff Tomassetti, from Florida. 226 km.
Day two started out good but through overgrown trails and really shitty logging roads became somewhat frustrating, also the heat was killing us; it got up close to 36°C latter in the day. Got a room and took a shower! Felt great afterwards. At dinner I ordered a non-alchoholic beer and wondered why it tasted so good, only to realize that it was a real beer! Got a good buzz off it J
200 km. on the day.
Day three was a tough one; started good but then took a wrong turn and ended up doing 30 bonus km’s. Some monotonous tank plate sections in the brutal heat with a tailwind sucked all the energy out of me. Then the long a extremely brutal climb up and over the Brocken mountain took the rest out of me for the day. My little finger on my left hand started to go numb. Found a great B&B in a quaint town in the Harz Mtns.
Day four was maybe the most brutal, a relentless up and down all day 125 km and 2600 meters of climbing. I’ve had big days, more km and more vert but this one really kicked my booty! No really big climbs just a lot of them. Got another room/shower and an awesome meal. Felt like a human again. Except the little finger and ring finger of my right hand was starting to go numb, the left was the same.
Day five; another hard day? Hell yes! More relentless terrain, steep hills; too steep for my gearing. Even too steep for Casper who had a Sram 1×11 set up. His front chainring was a 22T, and the biggest rear cog, 42! He still had to push. Saw more beautiful country, and places that I have never been.
Got a big burst of motivation when we came to my section of the GST, I though, heck yeah! I got this! Later in the afternoon I started to think otherwise. Why punish myself like this? I wasn’t havingfun anymore; it was great having a riding partner like Casper and we talked about all kinds of stuff but the riding was not fun. A lot of the route was along overgrown trails and old loggin roads that I avoid when I ride. To me it seemed like the other scouts wanted to make it artificially hard. Isn’t riding your loaded bike self-supported off road for 1250km hard enough? Anyways, I made my decision to stop even if I had just over 300 km to go. In the end it was the best decision for me to make. My hands were getting worse, my right was going lame, I didn’t have the dexterity in it any more. So call me a wimp and quitter but I don’t care, my health is more important than a finish.
I made a couple of good friends and I learned again, for the fourth time, that multi-day self-supported racing is not for me. I’ll stick with one day races from now on.
Like to thank some of Big Wheel Racing’s sponsors; Jelle at Singlespeed.nl, Supernova lights, Geax tires, Effetto Mariposa for their superior tire sealant, The Sock Guy, Osprey Packs, Spok Werks and Crema Cycles. I had no issuses with any of my gear; everthing worked just the way it’s supposed to.