I like when things turn out better than expected…
It was raining like hell last Saturday afternoon, when I picked up Nello and his two kids. After dropping of the kids at his parents-in-laws place 45 minutes later Google maps still showed another 1.5 hours to Furtwangen (Black Forest, Germany) where we planned to participate in the bike marathon on Sunday morning.
The rain kept on even worse and we somehow felt like squeezing our adventure into a anyway short weekend. So what, we said, but we were not really convinced this was going to be fun.
After finding a suitable parking for the motorhome we had just enough time to register and loading some carb at the pasta party. As it was still raining and seemed to get colder and colder we were unsure for which distance we should register for, 60km or 90km. After checking the weather with several Apps, we decided to trust the one with the best forecast – expecting the rain to stop just about for the start of the race. We finally decided to go for the longer one with 90km and 2300 m elevation gain.
I suffered from slight stomach pain and occasional sh… since a couple days, but I was hoping it wouldn’t really bother me during the competition. After two plates of pasta we went back and had a cup of tea, delicious cookies and a good talk – something we missed in the last months. Since we work together at andiron, we meet each other more often, but we rarely take the time to talk about the really important topics in our lives 😉
I love to sleep in the camper when its raining. Hearing the drops knocking on the roof is the best mantra I can imagine – except before a bike marathon. Good night!
Nello got up first (as always…) and announced dry conditions outside. When I opened the window I was positively surprised and I thought to spot a tiny little blue of the sky between the clouds what gave a optimistic mood. Bacon and eggs is not the recommended sports breakfast but we don’t care – on Sundays we deserve and enjoy it – white bread, orange-ginger jam and Italian coffee nicely round up our breakfast ceremony. A little massage, packing the bike and off we went to win the battle.
In contradiction of yesterday evening Furtwangen turned from a quiet, deserted hicktown into a vibrant small city, so it was not easy to find our way to the start area. With the first shafts of sunlight the start led us through the city center and shortly after we left the pavement and entered the beautiful countryside.While I could well keep the pace in the flat, many riders passed me at the first real uphill and also Nello passed me without noticing it, as I learned later.
The first hour / approx. 20 km I was unable to find my rhythm, my stomach was jammed and I could hardly breath and many of the riders passed me. Even though I was sure, that I would catch-up with most of them in the later phase of the race, it was difficult to keep calm and go my own speed. As I arrived at the first food station Nello was just about to take off. He was fairly surprised to see me and couldn’t believe I was behind him since almost the beginning of the race.
So we took of together and enjoyed the nice Black Forest and the beautiful track. The weather got better and better and it reminded me 5 years back, when rode together at the Transalp.
As I looked back after the next food stop I suddenly realized, that I had lost Nello. I tried to keep up my own pace and enjoyed some nice fights with other riders. As I passed one for the fifth time, he turned his head and said, “you have a very nice bike” – “thanks mate” I returned and kept on with pride.
The track mostly on wide forestry roads and some nice single tracks is a real pleasure to ride, but over time, I tended ride a bit to risky and had a moment of shock in a steep downhill when I suddenly had some big steps ahead of me. I had no chance to stop, so I just held to the handlebar and jumped over, as some smaller bumps followed I was lucky to not crash. With some more adrenalin I attacked the next uphill and thanked my guardian angel for taking care of me so well.
I saw no other rider with large tyres like mine, and generally get a lot of reactions from spectators but also competitors.
The race is really well organized and with total 7 food stations on 90 km never to far, even if you lose your bottle as I did. The last kilometers, mostly flat I joined a nice bunch of riders, together we passed a lot of other riders, that probably started the race a bit to fast.
A nice sprint to end the race.
Nello arrived some minutes later and except a short crisis, he also enjoyed the race.
After a short, cold shower (sorry Nello, it will not happen again) in the camper, we left Furtwangen with a big smile on our face. After a short stop in a nice café to eat a big piece of Black Forest Cake we safely arrived home.
As we passed the Swiss border a SMS from Datasport informed that I finished the race on 5th place in my age group - what more could I want?