Engadin Radmarathon 2012

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.

Camping in Zernez (Switzerland) resize Getting sorted the night before the race (Zernez, Switzerland) resize View up towards Flüelapass (Switzerland) resize

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

SC Kandel Cup

The last race for the season, perhaps. I headed out with Florian and a bunch from RIG Freiburg. The race in question was a 11 km mountain bike hill climb (approx. 11.5 km, 800 m climb). I felt a little out of place as I positioned my sturdy full-suspension bike next to a line of carbon hard-tails. The race went alright. I managed to hold the first female at bay… just… Pahhh, carbon hard tail.

After invoking the ancient art of “kaffee und kuchen” we rode back to Freiburg by the Kandel höhenweg.

Cris after the SC Kandel MTB Hill climb (Freiburg) resize

Above: After the hill climb race.

SC Kandel MTB hill climb – Time: 0:56:28 Dst: 10.62 Avg: 11.5 km/h Max: 56.93 km/h

Voralpenmarathon 2011

After spending the week in Magdeburg with Julian slaving over a hot MRI scanner I headed to Allgäu on Friday evening. By some sort of miracle I arrived only half an hour late at 12:30 am despite the German train system pulling out all the stops to… ahh… stop me. Katha was no doubt overjoyed to see me when I banged on her door at 1 am.

As it had been two weeks since the Jungfrau Marathon I was starting to feel well overdue for another little jaunt. I therefore had had a bit of a nosey through the race calendar and found the Voralpenmarathon in Kempten. Fantastic. To appeal to the bargain hunters (Kiwis) the organisers had thrown in an extra 20% more marathon bringing the distance to 50.9 km. This has a positive effect on all sorts of important race-quality metrics, such as hours spent suffering per dollar spent; Chris and Greig would be pleased.

Das Allgäu (Kempten, Germany) resize

Above: I snuck down to Allgäu for the weekend and ran a marathon. Here’s proof that it was in Allgäu.

Before the race on Sunday I had an intensive lazing session with Katha, Franka, and Vero by a lake near Kempten. After successfully burning the backs of my legs it was time to leave. Johanna was kind enough to leave me the key to her flat while she was away for the weekend so after dinner, I left Katha and co. to party the night away and headed off to Johanna’s for an early night.

The weather on race day was quite respectable. At something like 23 degrees it was quite refreshing compared to the Jungfrau Marathon and Inferno Half . Perhaps a little too fresh one might say… I set off at an amble conscious of the fact that I had some bonus kilometres to run at the end of the marathon distance. The route took us up and down through the hills near Kempten. It was quite scenic with forested sections and meadows. It was thankfully not as busy as the Jungfrau Marathon with 157 entries in the 50 km distance.

The race went well and I felt pretty good for the majority of it. At around about 35 km I started to feel a bit sore and there was some premium suffering to be had during the last 10 km. Although the organisers had only extended the race by 20% they had succeeded in increasing the amount of suffering by a disproportionate amount proving that suffering or perhaps sufferage is a function of time and distance.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the ‘fun’ was over after 5:44:02 (h:m:s) and Katha, Franka, and Vero turned up at the finish line to greet me. We hung around for a while before meeting again later in Kempten for an ice cream. By chance I ran into Manu as well and we all ice-creamed together.

I stayed another night at Johanna’s before getting up at 4:30 am and hobbling to the train station to catch my favourite connection back to Freiburg. Amusingly I finished in 8th place in M30 and 90th place overall. A quick flick through the results indicates that there is definitely life after 30 for marathon running.

Cris with his lovely support crew at the finish line (Voralpenmarathon, Kempten, Germany) resize It's good (Voralpenmarathon Kempten) resize Cris and Katha after the Voralpenmarathon (Kempten, Germany) resize

Above left: My lovely support crew, Katha, Franka, and Vero came to see me at the finish line. Above middle: Yup, it’s definitely gold… definitely… Above right: “Nice, nice.” Katha and I at the finish.

Below: Manu and I in Kempten later in the evening.

Cris, and Manu getting icecream (Kempten, Germany) resize

Voralpenmarathon Kempten Dst: 50.9 km Time: 5:44:02 Elevation gain: 1250 m

Below: A map of the route and height profile (courtesy race website)

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