Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon 2017

For the first time I tried out the long course. Markus and Leonie did too and Angela rode the middle distance.

Here’s how it went.

We turned up on Saturday afternoon after driving back from Cortina and met Markus and Angela at the Haldensee campsite. The weather forecast for Sunday promised sunny times so we were happy.

Sunday dawned but without the sunny times. Still it wasn’t raining so we were happy. The race started at 6 am. As usual we started a long way back in the field as we arrived a little late. I spent the first 15 minutes passing people and at some point Markus caught me up again. So did the rain. It began with just a little bit but soon it was “Arlberg Giro Feeling” or perhaps “Tour Transalp Stage 1 Feeling”. In fact it was very much like the Tour Transalp because the course also went through very similar areas and in some parts followed the same roads. The tour-feeling grew stronger as the intensity of the rain increased.

 

Markus, Leonie, and Cris (Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon)Leonie shortly after starting (Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon)

Above left: Markus, Leonie, and I had the crazy idea to enter the Tannheimer Tal long course. That’s 220km / 3500 m. It’s not something we train for. Above right: The race started dry.

The route went from Tannheim across the border to Germany and meandered around Allgäu. Then it headed up over Riedbergpass and back into Austria. By the time we got to the pass we had ridden 70 km or so and the rain had stopped. Markus stopped to clean his glasses and I continued alone. The route took us towards Hochtannberg Pass. By now the sun was shining.

I cruised up the pass conscious not to ride too hard. We had also been stopping at the majority of the refreshment stations to top up. I stopped at the next one in Warth just over the pass and Markus caught up again. I waited and we rode together down the valley collecting people along the way.

We ended up with a reasonably sized group for the ride down the Lechtal. At some point a van in front of us started motor-pacing us which I thought wasn’t so cool. We caught up to the next group only to find that they also had a car motor-pacing them!

Cris climbing Hochtannberg Pass (Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon)Cris and Markus on Gaichtpass (Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon)

Above left: It soon started raining heavily while we were riding through Allgäu. Luckily it cleared a little after Riedberg Pass and as we started climbing the Hochtannberg Pass it was sunny. Above right: To my surprise my legs felt good ascending Gaichtpass and Markus and I cruised past many people. This is odd because usually by the time I get here on the 130 km course my legs are smashed. I suspect it’s because of the difference in speed. I race the 130 km harder.

We stopped again at the last feed station before the pass back into Tannheimer Tal and then started the climb. Our legs were surprisingly fresh still, in fact the whole race seemed much easier than I had imagined. We sat on someone’s wheel for the flat section to the finish and then did a nasty sprint past him to cross the line in about 7 hours and 57 minutes.

I was surprised how fast we were as I had expected to take much longer. I was also surprised how easy it felt. I was expecting to suffer a fair bit on the last part of the 220 km and 3500 m of climbing. Very strange, I felt much more destroyed after the 130 km version of the race in the past. Perhaps it was a mix of not riding too hard and stopping at most of the feed stations.

Leonie had a very good race coming in half an hour or so after us.

Angela did the 130 km and also had a good first race.

Cris and happy Markus (Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon)Cris crosses the finsih line (Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon)Leonie crossing the finish line (Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon)

Above left: Markus didn’t seem at all tired! How irritating 🙂 Above middle: After being towed for the last 8 km by the third guy in this picture Markus and I allowed ourselves a finish sprint. Mmmm finish sprint. That’s one of the best parts of racing. Above right: Leonie had an excellent time coming in just under 40 minutes after us.

Above: This is what Strava thought. Interesting that the reported climbing is so different from what the organizers claim… Hmmm.

Tour Transalp 2017 – Day II

The second day of the Tour Transalp was much nicer than the first.  Instead of driving rain we had sunshine.

We started in Imst and again due to our second class status as two-day-entrants we were right at the very back. The first 4.5 km were neutralised but as is usually the case with neutralised starts the field was strung out over many kms and by the time the race started the good bunches were already gone. We did our best to try and move up the field a bit anyway and spent the first 45 minutes or so passing groups.

We decided we should save our energy and stay where we were but after the bunch wombled along at under 30 km/h we decided to go searching up the field a bit again. At some point we agreed with two other riders to work together and spent 15 minutes or so riding hard together which was much more enjoyable than wombling.

We were mindful that we still had to climb Timmelsjoch though so after stopping at a refreshment station we rode at a more leisurely pace until the climb. We cruised up the pass arriving at another refreshment stop at the top. The majority of the descent was pretty nice with fun switchbacks and long straights. Unfortunately there were two slow cyclists ahead of us causing a large traffic jam near the end of the descent. It took 15 minutes or so before we could pass and by that time many people had caught us up so we had a large group going into the last 30km or so.

Markus and I worked at the front for quite some time thrashing it out on the flat. It was great. Exactly what fun racing for me is about. We took turns with a strong British female team. After a while I decided we should let some other guys do some work and we dropped back for a bit. I stayed in the first few at the front but made sure I didn’t pull.

It was extremely hot so low and we really noticed it as we hit the next hill. Markus and I stayed near the front as we ascended and then descended through tiny weaving Italian roads. The last part of the race was along a narrow cycle path. I ended up at the front again and towed the Brits along for a while before I noticed that Markus had dropped off with the rest of the group. I was eager to push it to the finish line as my legs were still feeling frisky but Markus wasn’t feeling so fresh so we cruised.

A very nice stage and so much better without rain. Leonie and Angela turned up to the finish not long after we arrived.

We got place 5th and 6th in around 5 hours and 21 minutes. I felt like my legs had worked well but it doesn’t really say much as we had such a handicap to start with.

Tour Transalp 2017 – Stage 2 Schnupper – Men

Leonie’s Liechtenstein Marathon 2017

Leonie ran the LGT Liechtenstein Alpin Marathon today. I was too lazy for such things. In fact I was feeling almost too lazy to cycle. I don’t think I’ve recovered from the recent racing quite yet.

Anyway, Leonie ran off into the hills and I cycled slowly up towards the finish line while managing to miss her at all the possible spots along the way. She finished in 5:07:33 beating her 2015 time which was very good since she’s not really been running much this year.

Leonie at the start (LGT Marathon)View of the  king's castle on the marathon route (LGT Marathon)

Above left: Leonie ran the LGT Alpin Marathon in Liechtenstein. Above right: It went past the king’s castle.

Leonie at 35 km (LGT Marathon)Leonie at the finish (LGT Marathon)

Above left: It was strenuous with 1870 m of climbing. Above right: But she made it to the finish in 5:07:33 and got place 8/14 in her category and 27/73 from all women.

Muttersberglauf 2017

After a friend entered Leonie in the Muttersberglauf she decided she couldn’t have all the fun alone and entered me also. So we drove to Bludenz on a very wet Sunday morning. The race was short, just 8km but with 1200 m of climbing. It was a part of the world cup mountain running circuit which didn’t help our prospects of doing well. 

The race started and I cruised off at what I thought was a happy sustainable pace noting that my legs were still tired from cycling. Not long before leaving the streets and entering the forest Leonie caught me up and I decided to give up on trying to go hard and treat it as a leisurely training run. So I ran with Leonie waiting occasionally but not much to the top. 

The weather was pretty rubbish. It felt like running in a tropical rain forest for a lot of it, misty, cloudy, and very damp.  We escaped the cloud below the summit to cross the finish line at a little hut.

After descending we drove back to Lindau at which point the sun came out and I went for a nice ride up to Pfaender and along the hills before heading down to the lake in the evening and hanging out with the Denso/Adasens/Couch surfing crew for the evening.

Amadé Radmarathon 2017

The Tour de Kärnten was really good fun this year so we decided to hang another race onto the end of our holiday.

First we took a break for a couple of days and did another klettersteig near Finkenstein and then visited our favorite castle in the area (castle Finkenstein) for a tasty lunch. Then it was off to Lake Bohinj in Slovenia for an evening and the following morning. I caught up with Sebas, Sam, and Johannes there for some climbing as they were having a Slovenia weekend. Then it was off to Radstadt for the race.

It was on Sunday and began at 7:30 am. The weather was perfect and the route was pretty nice. We had entered the short course to save our legs a bit. It’s 95 km with 1500 m of climbing and the long course is 137 km with 2200 m of climbing. Also quite doable but I was hoping to be a bit more competitive than usual and since I’ve only been training on shorter distances it seemed more sensible to do the shorter course.

It looked like it would be a very fast course with the steeper climbs near the beginning. It was.

I was very happy how my legs went. They didn’t feel tired after the tour despite just two days rest. Infact, I think the tour helped.

Overall though I was frustrated by the race due to the start and the finish. We had entered late and they had put me in the second start block and weren’t keen to let me change when we arrived on Saturday evening. When I complained again before the race started on Sunday they allowed me to change but issued me a new number meaning I was running around chaotically trying to change numbers shortly before the race started. I did start in block 1 but by the time I got there I was well back from the front.

The first 2 km was supposed to be neutralized but it didn’t feel that neutralized blasting along at 50 km/h trying to catch up to the font. Of course it wasn’t possible to catch up to the front because that would mean I’d have to be significantly faster than them. I did pass a whole lot of people though and got into a rhythm so that once we had finished the first hill I had a strong bunch for the descent. It was frustrating though as I feel I could have had an even better bunch if I had started closer to the front and therefore a better finish (if I were able to hold on).

Anyway, the descents were good fun. After the first hills we had a very long downhill section down a valley. I worked up the front and enjoyed racing around the corners with the bunch strung out behind me or sitting on e.g. the third wheel near the front.

After a long time we had a gradual ascent. I wasn’t sure if I could hold the pace but managed too and as we got closer to the finish it looked like I’d hold on and not get dropped. We neared the finish and I tried to find a place nearish the front from which I could launch a sprint at perhaps the 200 m mark when prompted by the signs that all good races have before the finish…

And that was the problem. The bunch rolled along, the route pointed us onto the road that enters Radstadt and suddenly without warning the finish line was 20 m in front of us. Particularly bad for launching a sprint. Grrr…