I managed to get into a pretty good shape with the 316 hours of walking up and down in the mountains. Legs feel great and overall stamina benefited also. So after coming back and resting a few days I saddled my mountain bike and took a for a 3 hour ride and felt really good through the ride. I had only about 400km on the clock before the walk, but I felt confident enough to enter the Elion MTB marathon Cup. There had already been four stages and in the end of the week another one was scheduled to take place in Elva. I had never participated on that track, but I knew it wasn’t very technical, but really fast. So before Saturday I had few more rides and then stood ready at the starting line with 1000+ other bikers waiting for the start. As I hadn’t participated much last year and this start was also the first I had the number 1045 and had to start from the last group. Meaning that there would be a lot of people actually slower than me, who would hinder my ride and I would have to walk some ridable ascents. On previous years I have managed to squeeze myself into the 700 group.
So the race was really very fast from the beginning and I even fell back a bit not wanting to make a too fast start, which could punish me in the end. But soon enough I started to gain places again and felt really good. Even on gravel and forest roads I manged to push hard enough to make my average near 30km/h. And as I had thought I soon had to walk two ascents – one because of the other people walking and the other with very soft gravel, where I chose a bad line. Some very long and fast downhill sections where speed went up and over 50km/h. I managed to gain a lot of places when others felt comfortable riding in on line although there was another decent enough line next to it. Maybe they were holding back also. And so it went – constantly pushing quite hard, because others were doing the same. Got to rest in some lines for a while, but towed some myself too. Unfortunately an even-paced group didn’t form, where everyone would work. Tried to eat some Snickers too, but those proved to be too difficult to gulp down. Gels next time. Placed 694 in the intermediate finish. Last 10km were somewhat difficult ’cause I could feel a nasty cramp forming in my right thigh. The last few kilometers proved quite interesting ’cause there were the only decent single of the race and some harder sandy ascents and descent as well. Didn’t have it in me any more to ride those ascents though. The very last kilometer was speeding again despite the cramp outlook and managed to get over the finish line without problems. Felt good. Placed 637. Hopefully it will get me into a better group for the next race in three weeks.
Time: 2:55’21 (Caspar Austa – the winner 2:01 something)
Average/max speed: 23,4/56,9