Schauinsland König 2011

Today I rode the Schauinsland König. It’s a 11.5 km hill climb time trial with 800 m of climbing. The winner, i.e. Florian can ride it in under 30 minutes. I require a little longer as do Julian, Sebastian, and Nico who were also starting for our work group team (Team T2 Stern).

I was feeling rather tired as I rode towards the start line around midday. Was it such a good idea to stay up until 3 am the night before and drink red wine? My legs still felt a little rubbish after racing last week and running during the week. Still I seemed to start well and powered off up the hill. My legs behaved themselves and I kept a pretty good pace all the way until if flattened off for the last 4 km. I couldn’t quite hit the pace I wanted to on the last flat section but pushed hard and finished with a sprint in 38 minutes 49 seconds. I passed around 20 people on the ascent which was a good feeling. At one point some guy jumped on my wheel but I burned him off on the flat. Woot!

The conditions were pretty good. It was around 15 degrees at the bottom and 8 degrees and raining at the top, however it was only the last 100 vertical metres that were wet.

Julian crosses the finish line (Schauinsland König 2011) resize Cris and Sebastian at the finish line (Schauinsland König 2011) resize Sebastian, Nico, and Julian at the finish line (Schauinsland König 2011) resize

Above left: Julian crosses the finish line at the Schauinsland König. Above middle: Cris and Sebastian standing near the finish line in the rain. Above right: Sebastian, Nico, and Julian at the finish.

And now for some pretty graphs…

Schauinsland Koenig 2011 (Freiburg, Germany)_web[gpxspeedchart=show]

Schauinsland König 2011 0:38:49.2 Dst 11.55 km Avg: 17.57 km/h Max: 31.99 km/h Avg Cad: 75 Ascent: 800 m

Death Pudding

I had some friends over for pizza and a round of Death Pudding.

Eating pizza (Rosenstauden Flat, Freiburg, Germany) resize Chatting (Rosenstauden Flat, Freiburg, Germany) resize

Above left: Eating pizza with the lads. Above right: Chatting.

Julian has a hat for Anna (Rosenstauden Flat, Freiburg, Germany) resize Anna and Oli (Rosenstauden Flat, Freiburg, Germany) resize

Above left: Julian shows Anna how one makes Death Pudding. Above right: Anna and Oli starting to feel the effects of the pudding.

Basti, Waltraud, Jakob (Rosenstauden Flat, Freiburg, Germany) resize

Above: Basti, Waltraud, and Jakob.

Sebastian chatting up the girls (Rosenstauden Flat, Freiburg, Germany) resize The death begins (Rosenstauden Flat, Freiburg, Germany) resize

Above: Sophia and Solli try a few spoon-fulls of Death.

Tannheim Rad-Marathon

On Friday afternoon I headed over to Allgäu and met Kathi there. We went out for dinner in the evening with Ulli, Deidre, Sam, and Peter. I rode into Austria over the Oberjoch to pick up my race pack in Tannheimer Tal on Saturday morning. After riding back Kathi and I drove to the Niedersonthofener See and met Katha, and Franka, and Vero there. We spent a lazy afternoon swimming and… lazing at the lake. There was a platform in the lake that provided much entertainment for us as we tried to stay afloat and it tried to slide us off.

Niedersonthofener See (Allgaeu, Germany) resize

Above: A lazy afternoon at the Niedersonthofener Lake. Good company, warm water, and sunshine.

The race started Sunday morning at 7 am in Tannheim, Austria. Kathi was extra-specially nice and got up early and drove me to the race start. Oh yes, I am grateful to have friends like her.

I made my usual mistake of starting far too far back in the field and had to go on a passing spree for the first ten minutes until a group of us got together and chased hard catching the front bunch 20 minutes into the race. A waste of energy but anyway… It’s possible a crash had slowed them down because we rounded a corner to find cyclists on the ground. I made a quick escape past the mess through a field beside the road. The route had descended quite a lot to begin with and our average speed after 30 minutes was around 47 km/h.

Cris at start line 4 (Tannheim Radmarathon, Austria) resize

Above: At the start line in Tannheim, Austria. I should have been standing much further up the field. Typical, typical.

The race progressed along nicely as we headed up the valley towards the turn-around at Dürnau. The bunch was spilling out over both sides of the road as the pace was not really on. I tried to stay near the front of the bunch but after a punter with aero bars passed me I decided I should probably move up a bit further. Too late. My usual crap bunch placement had failed me again. We headed right onto a small cycle path where we could only ride two abreast. I was stuck behind a bunch of slow pokes. Big gaps had opened up between the riders. Everyone seemed to be riding far too cautiously along the winding path that bobbed up and down by the river. I spent the next few kms along the cycle path passing people but sadly the first group had got away.

Once we left the cycle path I sat at the front of the bunch and towed for some time. After a while there were perhaps five of us rotating at the front. It was rather frustrating as we could see the front bunch perhaps 1 km in front of us but nobody wanted to work hard enough to catch them. I kept riding off the front of the bunch. Narghhhh. The effort was cooking my legs. After 15 – 20 km I sat up and decided there was no point towing the dead wood along. Instead I drifted to the back of the bunch and sat on.

We turned around at the head of the valley and cruised back down. There was now no chance of catching the lead group now. The pace was pretty leisurely but I wasn’t going to sacrifice my legs. Instead, I saved myself for the 200 m Category 2 climb near the end of the race that climbs into the head of Tannheimer Tal. Usually it’s a fairly easy climb. I moved to the front of the bunch as we started the climb and was in 3rd position for the first few corners until a couple of guys passed me. I spent the rest of the time chasing them with the 2nd female sitting on my wheel. She was suffering. So was I. At one point as I was pulling slightly away she said ‘Nimmst Du mich doch mit’ or something similar, ‘take me with you’. I wasn’t leaving in a hurry. It was the crux of the race. The climb flattens off near the top before climbing again. I struggled to keep a good pace and three guys caught up to us. We rode with them as the road began to climb again. I tried to pull but could feel my calf muscles starting to cramp.

It would have been a disaster to have cramped, 9 km before the end of the race. Luckily as it flattened off the twinges went away and I sat in behind the two remaining guys as they powered towards the finish. I took a couple of turns at the front but could not keep the pace that they were riding at going. Looking behind us there was nothing left of the bunch so it looked like we’d stay well clear of anybody following. My quads were on fire. It’s a good feeling though knowing you’re giving everything you have. We arrived in Tannheim and crossed the finish line with a total time of under 3 hours 30 mins.

A good race. A good route. I was happy with my legs but disapointed with my tactics. Ideally I would have started right up at the front and therefore not wasted any energy chasing to begin with. As we headed up the valley I should have been riding in the third row back so that I was not doing any work but wasn’t in any danger of having the bunch breaking up in front of me. I should have been like the other slack riders and have had sat on. Ideally the only work I would have done would have been on the last climb. Annoying…

It’s interesting to see the results. They don’t reflect what happened. We crossed the finsih line with one guy half a second in front of us followed by the girl and myself perhaps a quarter of a wheel distance apart followed by the other guy maybe a bike length behind. The results say that the girl crossed the line first. Strange. I wonder why the transponders are so inaccurate. It’s not like there was a high volume crossing the line at one time.

Tannheim Rad-Marathon 3:27:35 Dst: 130.63 km Avg: 37.76 km/h M 74.55 km/h Avg Cad: 85 Ascent: 930 m

I rode back to Sonthofen and lazed with Kathi for the rest of the day. A good weekend in Allgäu although it’s a strange feeling to be back there. I still miss the frau that used to be there with me.

Kathi knitting (Sonthofen, Allgäu) resize

Above: Kathi knitting in the back garden on Sunday afternoon.

Tannheim radmarathon July 2011_web

Above: The race route…

Engadin Radmarathon 2011

I headed to Zernez in Switzerland on Saturday afternoon with Florian for the Engadin Radmarathon on Sunday. We stayed the night at a little camping ground near a nice river just outside the town. The race started at 7 am. I lined up for the 97 km course and Florian started the 210 km course. Unfortunately I had let the organisers put me in the second bunch despite wanting to start in the first. The race started and we launched straight into a climb. This sorted out the field. I went forward and a bunch of people went backwards. We climbed for the first half an hour or so and I went hard to try and get a good bunch in the bunches that would likely form after the climb. As it flattened off we entered a tunnel and I pushed to catch up to the bunch in front of us.

Once we left the tunnel we turned right and were in Italy and rode along a half covered section. We were surrounded by awesome mountains. I worked hard at the front of the bunch and started the front five or six rotating. We worked together until we finally caught the bunch in front of us. After sometime we started ascending towards Forcolapass (2315 m). I dropped off the pace a bit and the front of the bunch got away. At the top of the pass I put in a big effort to get over. I rode hard on the winding descent hitting 92 km/h. This was enough to catch up to some of the riders in front. We turned right and went straight into the ascent of the Berninapass (2328 m).

The bunch had broken up. I climbed hard but couldn’t seem to keep a good pace. I reached the top and was amused to see people ease off. Instead, I rode hard on the descent and ended up forming a group with three others. We worked well and caught up to a good bunch in front of us. I sat on for the next while and let others work. They didn’t particularly and we just cruised along until a bunch from behind caught us.

People started to get frisky near the end and as we came up to the last few hundred metres I got myself into a good position and broke away from the front of the bunch with a few others. Of course it was completely pointless as we weren’t the first bunch but still… My legs were eager for a good hard sprint and I was positioned well.

We rounded the corner to an intersection. Someone was standing on the intersection shouting “lange Strecke geradeaus, kurze Strecke links” or something similar. My brain slowly translated the German. Too slowly… I continued to ride straight ahead until a split second later I realised my mistake but it was too late… The rest of the 50(?) strong bunch rode the correct way finishing before me. I had to wait until the road was clear and then rode to the finish line. Curse and swear. Curse and swear some more.

My legs had really been looking forward to a nice sprint… So that they weren’t too disappointed I headed back to the camp site and went running in the hills across the river for an hour or so… Meh… How annoying…

The problem with races is that you seldom get good photos… Since I am not so keen to pay 30 CHF for a photo of me racing I’ll have to post this thumbnail instead… Just ignore the advertising and pretend that it is a full size picture.

ENGF0368

Above: Me riding up Berninapass in the Engadin Radmarathon. The photo is rather flattering and makes it look like I am leading. I’m not…

Engadin Radmarathon Time: 2:48.59,2 Dst: 97.97 km Avg: 34.81 km/h Max: 92.14 km/h Avg cad: 81