My second try at the Engadin Radmarathon in Zernez in Switzerland. I entered the short distance course again. At 97 km and 1500 vertical metres it’s comparable to Le Race but it gets all the climbing out of the way by the 50 km mark so overall it’s easier than Le Race. On Saturday I sold an arm and a leg to DB Bahn and after missing my first connection due to being rather disorganised, no surprise there, I headed to Switzerland around 1 pm after a delicious little bite to eat at Paradies in Freiburg. I camped in a camp ground near the start like last year.
Unlike last year I haven’t had any races to prepare me so I was feeling rather slow. I was also feeling rather tired from cycle touring in the heat in Mallorca a few days ago. Is that enough excuses?
It was rather cold as I got up on Sunday. I started in the first block this year and squeezed my bike in nearish the front. The race starts straight into a climb and I puffed my way up through the hills. Once we got to the tunnel and crossed the border into Italy I didn’t work as much as last year and spent more time sitting on. After the shuffling of bunches settled down we had grouped with the second bunch and could see the first bunch up the road a bit away from us. All was going ok until the climb up to the first pass then my old age, fatness, and unfitness worked against me. From the entire bunch I was the only one to drop off the back. Sad…
The front of the third bunch was just behind me when I arrived at the pass. I tried my best to put some more distance between me and them on the descent. I reached 92 km/h last year at this spot but this year I got stuck behind slow cars and slower cyclists holding up cars. Also the road was a little damp as the weather had been doing undesirable things. At the beginning of the next climb the third bunch caught up and people started riding past me like I was stationary. Or more like I was riding backwards. Very sad.
I guess the majority of the third bunch had passed me by the top of the pass. Still there were a few people scattered in front of me on the descent and I rode hard to catch up to one slightly larger group. Why does everybody sit up on descents like this? Maybe not everybody but it wasn’t too hard to pass people. I hit 94 km/h on the descent and had a dodgy moment as my back wheel hopped on a corner at 87 km/h.
We formed a good group and rode hard catching up to a group in front when they unfortunately (for them) had to stop at a red light. From there it was a reasonably paced ride to the finish line in drizzle. I crossed in a time of 2:51:30 (strangely my speedo said 2:50:53, which is a little odd, I guess 2:51:30 is gun time and my speedo shows riding time, my Graperide tactics didn’t pay off here…) placing 64th in the senior male rankings. This just goes to show how many speedy people did the long course. In the overall short course rankings I was 96.
Oh dear, I lost so many places because I had no power in my legs. I guess I’m slightly older, 2 kg-ish heavier, and this was the first race of the season. Still it’s no fun doing worse than the previous year.
It was cold and raining as I finished and I cowered in my tent for a while. Thankfully the weather improved after a couple of hours and I went and tried my hand at the Flüelapass . I bailed near the top and rode back down before catching the train back to Freiburg.
Above: Camping in Zernez before the race and a view from the road up to Flüelapass.
Engadin Radmarathon 2012 (short course) Time: 2:51:30 Dst: 97.82 km Avg: 34.35 km/h Max: 94.17 km/h Avg Cad: 80 Place: 64 category, 96 men overall
Ride up Fluelapass after race: Time: 01:51:54 Dst: 33.17 km Avg: 17.78 km/h Max: 70.44 km/h Avg Cad: 57