I headed to Sankt Anton in Austria on Saturday morning with Ole from RIG and met Thomas and Pascal, the other RIGers there. As we were intending to race on Sunday the weather was of course bad. Pascal’s friend Karsten and his sister Janine showed up later in the day. We messed around not doing too much. There was a pro criterium in the evening that we watched in the wet. Sunday dawned rain free but at the start line the warned us of heavy rain ahead. I snuck back and picked up my knee warmers. A good thing too…
The race was the Arlberg Giro. It starts in Sankt Anton and ascends Arlberg pass before dropping down and then later climbing over Bielerhöhe pass. It’s 148 km with 2400 metres of climbing. From the start line it goes straight into a climb over Arlberg pass which sorts everyone out nicely. I wasn’t sure how I’d go over the race so didn’t go too crazy on the climb. At the top of the pass I didn’t have a group. There were three or four in front of me though and I couldn’t see the next group behind. I descended as fast as I could given that the road was wet. After the last windy corner I rode hard and caught up to the the few in front of me. I ended up riding with two others for the next 10 km until a bunch caught us up and we rode the rest of the descent with them. It was now nice and wet just like in the Tannheim Radmarathon this year. Water was coming from above and below due to it spraying up off the wheels. We slowly ascended over the next kms until the second major climb began. I went against my principles and used my triple chain ring. I should really just get a new bike with a compact crank set.
The triple seemed to save my legs and the climb went ok. I stopped briefly at the drink station at the top as there was nobody directly in front of me. A hairy descent involving cows, their excrement, lots of water, and corners ensued. The guys behind me caught up and we rode together in a group of maybe four. I scared myself on a corner where it felt like my front wheel was no longer gripping the road so well at 70 km/h. The descent was generally quite fun though. Really fast. After a while Karsten who had been just behind me at the top of the climb caught up with a group and we all rode together trying not to slide out on the nasty metal culvert covers on the road or ride into the walls in the tunnels.
We eventually reached the end of the ascent and started climbing back into the valley leading to Sankt Anton. Karsten dropped off the back and I stayed with a bunch for a while before dropping off too. I rode for some time by myself before Karsten and a couple of others caught up. I couldn’t stay with them and let them go but as we reached a short descent managed to get back on. We had a painful finish with Karsten pulling and me trying to sit on as much as possible. During the last section we put the pace on a little and crossed the finish line together in 5 hours 3 mins (207/710 – men overall). Quite a good race. Pity about the weather. Would be a nice circuit in the sun.
Above: Posing with the free bike top that comes in the race pack. Look it’s sunny… Oh it’s Saturday.
Arlberg Giro 2012