At this marathon you had to manage only 61km and 2700hm. Unfortunately, on that day I had the worst of the whole season. Straight from the beginning my legs hurt very badly and I nearly couldn`t follow the top group. I hoped it would get better, but that was not the case. I did not get a tension to the pedal and was just exhausted. So I early couldn’t think about anything else, but the finish, although that seemed a long way off. Nevertheless I finished the race on the 7th place overall. The track has held what was promised, as the descents were really cool to ride.
The Almkönig is a mountain race, with a total length of 6,1 km and 400 hm. I started the race with the road bike. I was still tired from the marathon last week and the hard training, but I wanted to see what’s possible, when I’m not quite recovered. The route is not very steep, so it was tactical since the start and no full gas race. I won the intermediate sprint at the half of the race. In the following flatter part a group rolled together again. That last approximately 2km were then just full gas. Unfortunately I couldn’t keep up with Eibegger Markus (later winner) and Karel Vacek and was 3rd with a gap of 19 sec. to Eibegger.
The marathon in Stattegg, with 93 km and 3.700 hm, was great to ride. The panorama was really great and the downhills were cool too, but I’ll tell you more about that later. The start took place at 8:30 and immediately after the start I felt really fit for the upcoming race, even though I had trained very hard this week. Quickly, a 3 man leading group with Christoph Soukup (AUT/later winner), Jiri Novak (CZE) and me was formed. But Christoph and I quickly realized that we were the strongest on this day and after about 1 hour riding time we were a duo. We worked well together and quite fast we had a respectful gap. In the uphills we were outclass and so we mustn’t risk anything in the downhills. The descents were prone for punctures because of the sometimes rough rubble and so we wanted to stay safe. Because it is my first marathon season, I find it difficult to increase the speed after 3 hours, but that’s what Christoph did on that day. He distanced in the steep climb up to the Leber, which we had to ride 2 times during the race. For those who haven’t seen the race, at the end of the race I was nearly as fast as at the beginning of the race, but as I said Christoph felt better now than at the beginning and rode even faster. On this day, at one of his favorite races, he had a strong day and in the end blessing in disguise. Shortly before the last tech-/feed zone he had a puncture, whereby he lost only 2-3 minutes. However, at the finish I still had a gap of more than 3 minutes. I am still very proud of myself that I could finish with just over 4 hours with a fast, steady speed and that with the 2nd place. Besides, with finishing this race, I won the overall ranking of the Austrian Marathon Cup.
pictures: ©NoSane, ©Bernd Gruber
One lap from the Night Race in Flachau has 4.5 km & 200hm. The track is technically not very demanding, but this year the moderate rain which started just before the qualifying, and lasted till the start at 20:00 o’clock, made the ski run (downhill) very slippery. I had good legs, but on the descent I felt from the beginning not quite well. Shortly after the start I could take the lead and just wanted to ride my own rhythm. That worked well until the third round when I slipped away with the front wheel in the downhill and it twisted my stem. The fall was not bad, but somehow I couldn’t regain my power. After I had my stem adjusted again in the feed zone, I tried to get into my rhythm again. In the downhill passage I rode so slowly now that I couldn’t believe it myself. Before the slip I rode safe downhills and so I already lost a little bit of time, but now I was definitely riding too slowly. In the uphill my legs didn’t want to ride any longer and unfortunately I had to finish the race earlier. My shape is still very good, because if I look at the fastest lap I was 20 seconds slower than Daniel Federspiel, the winner in this special classification with 11min 24 seconds. Although I hadn’t overtorqued the pace one lap because I wanted to take the overall win and I rode my rhythm, the pressure uphill was just perfect on this day. However Flachau is always a spectacle with great spectators, which is complemented by a first-class event.
pictures: ©Flachau Tourismus
The day after the state championship in XCE (Eliminator) was again devoted to sprint races, but this time a lap had 1.3 km and 45hm and in the final we had to complete 6 of them. This time I had certainly a better chance to keep up with Daniel Federspiel, who was also at the start, simply because the race had a longer distance. But after his qualifying lap it was absolutely clear who will dominate the race. I tried not to worry too much and hoped for good legs in the final. I had good legs, but still no chance. From round 2 of 6 we definitively ran ahead of our opponents and dominated the race. We always rode together, till the half of the last lap. In the uphill through the serpentine Daniel distanced a bit and from there on I knew the race was decided. Because until the finish line was the part of the track that fits him better than me, many tight corners, little space for overtaking and not a too long final straight, where you go against him without having a chance. So I didn’t stress myself no longer, because I wanted to make sure that I’ll make no mistake and so I rode as 2nd over the finish line. On the 3rd place was Maxi Maier from Germany. The atmosphere was amazing throughout the whole course and it was a pleasure to ride. Furthermore, the event was just perfect.
pictures: ©Simninja Photodesignagentur, ©Maier M.
The State Championship in the discipline XCE (Eliminator) is not my specialty discipline, because of the fact that since this year I ride Marathon races and don’t train short units. But my muscles are inherently good in sprinting and so I don’t need to train this so often. I stood at the start, because I wanted to know if I can still do it well and the event is quite good. Of course, with Daniel Federspiel as a competitor, the title was awarded to him for almost 100%, but as we saw in the final heat, this time it was very tight. The 450 m long course was equipped with sharp turns and jumps. Daniel Federspiel, Fabian Costa, Hannes Metzler and myself participated in the final. During the start Daniel had problems while latching into the pedal and so he rode far behind as the last into the first corner. I had a very good start and was leading since the beginning. We had to ride 3 laps and in the last lap, at the last overtaking part, Daniel was able to overtake me. He was state champion and I was still very happy with the 2nd place because being beaten by him is no disgrace. The podium was completed by Fabian Costa with the 3rd place.
pictures: ©Krenn W., ©Federspiel D., ©Hörhager H.
On Friday afternoon, the Palio (Eliminator) in Ischgl started. The track wasn’t so spectacular, because there were no obstacles like tree trunks or ramps. But the heavy rain, which started one hour ago, made the track difficult. The most slippery part was the downhill, because this was a meadow that led to the start line. I won the two heats before the final and so I was in good spirits for the victory. You had to ride every time two laps per heat. In the final, at the end of the second round, Fabian Costa (later winner) and I already had a comfortable gap to the third place. Fabian could not pass me in the uphill and so I rode in the first place in the meadow downhill shortly before the finish. However, Fabian tried to pass me inside as we slowed down to turn on the asphalt. He slipped easily during the braking and crashed into me. This action wasn’t useful, but if you ride that much over your limit, your brain sometimes turns off. He wanted to win necessarily and unfortunately at my expense. I know that he didn’t do it on purpose and he has also apologized, but for me it was a painful experience with the ground. I was so 4th in the Palio. I had abrasions and bruises on the forearm, shoulder, hip and the knee. The impact was not easy, so I already knew that it can’t already ride very well tomorrow during the marathon.
The next day, my pain was okay and I tried to start, but the 79km & 3800hm would be hard. I finished the race after just over an hour, because I didn’t feel good. I had a bit of a headache, my legs were dead and I did not feel good on the bike. The body didn’t want to ride and I respected it.
In Villach the national championships of the olympic discipline Cross Country were held during very warm temperatures. My plan was to become the youngest state champion with only 21 years, but unfortunately I was stopped after 10 minutes. My derailleur hanger broke and I could therefore not continue the race. At first I was very angry, because I had a perfect form on that day. I had a good start and rode on the 4th position just behind the leading trio (Raggl – later winner; Markt; Gebauer). I wanted to win this race tactically and therefore I rode the first round only with a normal speed uphill, lost here on the trio not much time and knew already, that if I rode with full speed they would have no chance. I had no problem with the heat, but that helped me, as I have already said, nothing, because of the broken derailleur hanger. I also did not notice that anything got tangled in my rear derailleur or I got stuck somewhere. That was probably fate. I watched the whole race from beside the track and after the race I wanted to prove myself that I had good legs on that day. After about an hour standing, I whipped myself on my stepfather’s mountainbike and rode up the Villacher Alpenstraße without warming up. The equal part to my bike is only the frame and it has almost the same saddle height. He has a different crank length and the cockpit is also very different, but at this moment I thought that this does not matter. I did not change anything and just wanted to ride up with pressure. I would have to lie when I would say that I have not ridden fast, but I could have been faster. Especially at the lower part of the uphill. With a time of just over 50 minutes, I was 6 minutes slower than the best in this year’s “Tour of Austria”, they need 44 minutes. With a foreign bike, which was also a mountain bike and not a road bike, I reached this achievement. This makes me feel positive and I’m looking forward to the next races.
The B track started at 9:00 o’clock and had 119.5 km and 3848 hm. The weather was fine, but partly too hot for me. Immediately after the start I felt very good and rode my rhythm alone in the first position. My three followers Soukup Christoph (AUT) (later winner) Novak Jiri (CZE) and Leisling Matthias (GER) were always around 15 seconds behind, until the end of the second uphill after about 1h 30min. This was followed by a long flat part, which I wouldn’t like to ride alone and I would have let me catch up. We rode in a group of four until the next uphill, in which the group split up. First, Leissling Matthias, could no longer hold the pace and then the next one was me. The extremely steep uphill up to the Salzberg (ca. 30% uphill grade) costed me quite an effort to ride through with my translation of 32T at the crank and my 36-11 cassette. Later Matthias passed me again, but I couldn’t ride with him at this time. Because between kilometer 60 – 80 I did not feel quite good, later I felt okay again. I was 4th overall and took many UCI points in fact that it was a World Series Marathon (World Cup).
pictures: ©Erwin Haiden, ©Martin Bihounek (11), ©Marc Schwarz (3)
The start for the 90km long track, where you had to master 3800hm, took place at 8:00 o’clock. I felt good and during the first climb I rode to the top. My legs felt good and I didn’t ride over my limit, so I could distance from my rivals. I was leading till the second to last downhill as Uwe Hochenwarter (later winner), caught me during a short uphill passage during the descent. Then there was the last uphill, which we rode two times during the race. We rode together, but after 3h 30min I did not have the same power reserves for the last 850hm climb, than about 2h before. Although Uwe seemed to be physically exhausted, he mobilized debatable power and he rode the uphill passage around 3min faster, than he did 2h before. Additionally he rode about 1min 30sec faster, than I did 2h before, despite his very noncircular pedal. I did not have the power to attack and so I rode my pace up because the 3rd rider was wide enough behind me. I finished with the 2nd place.
pictures: ©NoSane, ©KitzAlpBike, ©sportograf.com, ©Privat
At 18:30 o’clock the starting signal should have resounded at the Hillclimb race in Brixen, but there were technical problems, so we started at 18:50 o’clock. The track is 6 km long and you have to climb 500hm. The starting field was very strong, but after the start I was able to pull away. Until the middle of the race I was in the lead, but then the later winner Daniel McConnell (AUS) came and passed me. I could not keep up the pressure on the pedal, because one week ago I had a fluke or infection. There I lost 4kg and until today I’m missing some weight. The last reserves of strength to win this race weren’t available in my body. A bit later the last year winner Grant Ferguson (GBR) caught me. We rode together till around 300 meters before the finish line, when he attacked and I could not quite go with him. I finished in the overall as 3rd with a gap of 26 sec. on the first and 12 sec. on the second. I am very happy with the result.
PS: In Brixen they told that us for the first time that we couldn’t start with a road tire on a MTB rim. What last year from the front guys almost everyone had. Luckily I had my heavy training wheels with me. They were unluckily equipped with too much profile (Schwalbe – Racing Ralph). For such a hillclimb race not perfect, because nearly the whole track is on asphalt. So with better wheels and tires there would have been space for improvement.
pictures: ©NoSane, ©bikeboard.at
The route took place in rough terrain with mostly technical descents. These were very slippery because of to the rain and we had to ride about 92km and 2700hm. The area of the race was Lavarone what is 1,100 above sea level. As already mentioned it rained during the race, fortunately short, but also very strong. The downpour occurred after 30 minutes of the race start and it was very painful on the skin. I did’t have a good day, but I could still compete well in the top group, which was consisting of 7-8 people. During the longest uphill after 50 km, the leading group split. At this time the later winner Juri Ragnoli came from behind, after a cautious start. He really blew up the top group. I was struggling at that time and I was on position seven. At the highest point I was around 1min behind the currently fifth-placed and wanted the close this gap. A better place would probably not have been possible at this day. Shortly afterwards I had a puncture on the rear wheel and the placement was gone. The track is extremely dangerous for punctures and unfortunately it got me too. I did not lose too much time for repairing and not many overtook me. I knew that I could get back to my old position. But it is often worse than you think and my front wheel slipped away on the wet stones and I crashed. Luckily I did not hurt myself too much, except for a few bruises. After a short break I was able to launch again for the last 20km. Unfortunately a technical section followed and my rhythm was gone. The result was, that I lost unnecessarily a lot of time. In the overalls I finished with the 14th place and in my category as 10th. The race was extremely tough and I’m happy I could gain some experience.
THE RACE VIDEO: http://trentino-mtb.broadcaster.it/media-news-releases/millegrobbe-bile-100-km-dei-forti-2015/
During very warm weather conditions I rode the Alpen Challenge in Bludenz, only at stage 4 it was not as stinging hot and muggy. Personally, I prefer it when it’s not so hot.
Stage 1 (60km/2300hm): The start took place on 4.6. at 11:00 o’clock. On the first mountain I could already pull away with the later winner Christoph Soukup. In the following descent I damaged my rear tire. Unfortunately the problem was not solved as fast as I thought. I lost about 17 minutes to the finish line on him. So my chance in the overall standings had burst on the first day.
Eliminator (Citycross): On the evening of the first stage, on 4.6. at 19:00 o’clock the Eliminator started. I was in a good mood. In the semi-final I missed the start because of a concentration mistake and so I was not in the final. I was able to win the small final and finished as 5th.
Stage 2 (8,2km/820hm): The hill climb started on 5.6. at 17:30 o’clock. I was able to ride with the later winner Christoph Soukup, but during the middle of the race my head almost exploded. The heat was too extreme for me and I had to ride my normal, fast pace and was then overall 4th.
Stage 3 (58,5km/2330hm): The longest stage started on 6.6. again at 11:00 o’clock. After the first climb I was able to pull away with Christoph Soukup and we rode the race as a good duo until the end. We did not fight, because I was too far back in the overall standings. Unfortunately, we could not fight out the victory because he lost air in the front tire during the last downhill. We rode together until the finish and I won with a time of 2:35:39.
Stage 4 (30km/1400hm): In the final stage one rode 3 rounds of 10km. The start was on 7.6. at 11:00 o’clock. I felt good and like the day before Christoph Soukup and I pulled away. But I knew after the first round that I was the stronger one uphill today. Not like the days before, where it balanced or he was the stronger one. On this day the air was for the first time a bit more pleasant to me. For the first time I was able to ride really good at the limit and over the limit. In the last lap I pulled away from him and won the race with a time of 1:17:35.
The event was very well organized and the people were great. Then it’s real fun to ride races – especially when your shape is good.
pictures: ©sportarena.tv, ©Alpen Challenge Bludenz, ©Soukup, ©Revilo Schilly
The criterion in Steyr was harder than I imagined. Due to the fact that it rained so much the week before and I couldn’t do my planned training, I did it this week. I did a stage race simulation, because I’ll ride the Alpen Challenge in Bludenz next week. That’s why I trained very hard and long until the day before the race. My legs were still quite good, but I was not so “explosive”. We had to ride 15 laps in the center of Steyr and covered a distance from 18km. Special for this criterion is that there is a passage, where you have to run uphill the stairs with the bike. Nearly the whole race Mick Christoph and I dominated the race in the front. I couldn’t leave him behind and so I trusted in my sprint skills in the final. That worked and so I could celebrate my victory with a lead of half a wheel length. Third was Benetseder Josef, who completed the podium.
Unfortunately Kleinzell was not spared by the rain masses, accordingly the ground was muddy, the race has developed into a real mudslinging. The 78km and 2500hm were an ordeal for every rider. The distance was splited into 2 rounds and in the first round there was formed a leading group with the riders Alban Lakata (later winner), Hermann Pernsteiner, Daniel Geismayr, Uwe Hochenwarter and me. The pace in the first round was not too high and I was motivated to ride in second lap with full pressure. Unfortunately I was unlucky and the chain guide was loose and tangled with the chain. The first time it was already in the first round, but because the pace was not so fast I could close the gap of about 30 seconds very quickly and didn’t use a lot more power than I wanted. At the end of the first lap I tested the shape of my opponents in the leading group. Immediately Uwe Hochenwarter fell back. Now we were just four riders and the podium was not far. However the chain guide felt almost apart in the fist downhill of the second lap and I lost the connection to the top. Unfortunately I had to ride around 10km to fix the chain guide provisionally. With the mud on the bike it was impossible to fix it correct. So I could never ride with full pressure in the second round, because otherwise my chains would always have tangled. I was glad that I could finish the race. Finally I was overall 4th and confirmed my good form. As U23 rider I was superior the fastest in this field.
(c) picture: Mathias Lauringer/Granit Marathon