Last weekend I participated on a MTB XC race during the Bike Days in Solothurn, btw the largest bycicle festival in Switzerland. Originally I even planned to pedal the 65 km to the event, visit the expo, join the race and then pedal back home, what seemed to be the perfect training for my upcoming challanges. Fortunately the weather was to nasty so I decided to drive there with my camper. As it was nearly constantly raining for the last 24 hours, start area transformed to a truly mud pit. Nevertheless it is always a special honor to race on the same course where world champions and olympic heros as Nino Schurter and Julien Absalon have raced just one day. Watch the reace documentary from Swiss TV to get an impression.
After only 5 minutes in the race I remembered how much these short and fast races can hurt when one is out of practice. But first things first.
As I spent to much time at the expo chatting around I had only time to inspect part of the race course before the start.
Most of what I saw (beside the earlier mentioned mud pit) was asphalt so I expected a fast and mostly flat race, what turned out to be wrong. About 30% of the race cours is in a normally nice hill behind the city of Solothurn. In the present condition it turned into a slipery and energy spoiling nightmare, partly unable to cycle. The following downhill, with 2 breath-taking decents should be fun in dry conditions, with limited view due to dirty glasses rather an infernal and dangerous ride, at least during the first of four laps.
The result a almost crash, bruised rips and loss of my mobile phone. Completely exhausted I started chasing my race mates and catched them shortly before passing the start/finish area. This procedure I repeated for 3 more laps except the the ungentle reunion of the saddle and my left rips ;-). While most of my competitors started having problems with their derailleur and chains my Pinion C.12 gearbox in combination with the Gates carbon belt one more time prooved to be the best choice in terms of reliability in really harsh conditions.
The oversize tires rolled very well on the pave but were a bit too large in the mud what resulted in uncontrolled sliding. While the Lauf fork was again the plain eye-catcher I missed some travel in the rough downhill part.
A cool event with great people and an exceptional experienc that I will remember much longer than the convalenscence of my rips. I'll be back next year ;-)