There are obviously plenty of pictures out there, where I’m flying along on a bike. But lets talk about this one. Taken by Philipp on the way up Chaschauna it sums up how hard that 4th ‘hill’ in the National Park Bike Marathon was. See that spikey bit in the map below? Just at the top of that, is where the above photo was taken. As I approached the bottom of it, I felt a little hungry, and wished I had food with me, and that I hadnt missed the gel at the previous food station. Then I heard “Fioley!” and looked up and saw Philpp. Like a marmott popping out from behind a rock. He had been sitting there and running up and down with various other athletes for the last hour. I was so happy to see him and he walked/ran with me practically the whole way to the top. I couldnt talk, but his company and encouragement was so comforting. I am so very lucky to have such a great guy and his support on this race meant so much to me.
I got passed on that uphill walk/bike section by Andrea Kuster from Davos. Of course, I was annoyed, but I am also very proud of myself. I remember the first time I came across Andrea, in 2009 at the Davos 24 hour mtb race that I participated in a huge relay team. I was so in awe of her. She came 2nd overall, men included. To think that 4 years later, I would be ahead of her in a mtb race and come in only a few minutes behind her over 137km makes me incredibly happy of all I have achieved.
The Last Race 2013
The Nationalpark Bike Marathon was my last key event this year. So I feel particularly retrospective (wrap-up to come later). I have learned a lot about myself as an athlete and although I have the tendency to be critical and not satisfied unless I am really getting close the podium in events – I have resisted the temptation to do that with this race. Here, I was up against the very best marathon mountain bikers in the world. Milena Landtwing won, Arianne Kleinhans came second and the lovely Jane Nüssli third. Christoph Sauser won the men’s event. The girls in my category have years of experience and kilometres more than me and they don’t work full-time either. In fact, I know that Arianne rides about 3 times as much as I do in 1 MONTH alone. So that helps me to put it into perspective and accept that I am playing pretty well to be anywhere near as good as these fabulous athletes – and I am happy, yes, very content to finish my season off with a good solid performance.
More about my Race
As races go, it had its ups and downs (no pun intended.) Just before the 3rd major climb my back brake stopped working. I wasn’t sure if the brake pads had completely worn down or if it was a problem with the hydraulics at the time, but nothing was happening when I pulled the lever or tried to pump it to get the fluid circulating. I was banking on Philipp being in Livigno so I could at least ask him if it was worth stopping then to take a look at it and change the brake pads if needs be. On the way down the pretty steep descent into Livigno however, the resistance in the lever came back. Philipp wasn’t there either (he was waiting for me further up the road) so all in all I was pretty lucky!
This race was so great! Finally got to ride some nice single trails. There were much more than in the Eiger which in comparison is basically up, down, up, down on gravel roads. Yes, the views were amazing but I like some reward for all that effort!