«Why am I doing that to me? How am I going to survive this week?» Just some of my thoughts during the first stage, when my team-mate Chrystelle and I were climbing to the top of the Albulapass.
The Swiss Epic is a MTB stage race. During 5 days we conquered the Bündner alps. It all started in Davos first, then heading off to St. Moritz. From St. Moritz we went to Lenzerheide and then back again to Davos. It was hard, really hard but absolutely worth it. I had tired legs and no energy. The last few weeks haven’t been relaxing at all. First the worlcups in Val di Sole & Lenzerheide and Sunday before the Swiss Epic the Proffix Swiss Bike Cup in Muttenz, Basel. From Basel we went straight to Davos, where on Tuesday at 07:30 the first and longest stage started.
After the first two stages, I didn’t have high expectations for the next few stages. I just wanted to survive the whole thing. But on Thursday, when the 3rd stage started, it seemed to be different. I felt good and my team-mate as well. After the long descent down from the Albulapass we almost couldn’t believe what we saw. From position 5 we went forward and forward. Then I said to Chrystelle «look, there is the podium! ». We rode faster. 4th then 3rd then 2nd. We couldn’t believe it. Approximately 5km before the finishline one team overtook us. The only thought I had in mind was «podium, fullgaz»! I never suffered so hard for such a long time before. On the last kilometer when we rode on the MTB XC World Cup race course I got a flat tire. But we really wanted to stand on this podium. And we did it! Never ever did we think to a result like that. The next day was really hard. My legs didn’t recover that good during the night. Then, in the first descent of the 4th stage it happened again: «Pffffff» flat tire. It was totally my own fault. I rode to wild and didn’t pay enough attention and the rocky path. We reached the finishline on place 7. The 5th day and the final stage has arrived. Form Lenzerheide we rode back to Davos. My legs finally felt a bit better again. Only my butt didn’t want to sit down on the saddle after 4 days of racing. It felt like someone sandpapered your skin. But after the start I forgot it totally. We both had energy, good legs and were able to ride on 2nd and 3rd position for a couple of time. We then had to slow down a bit and ride our own pace. In the last descent it happened again: «Pffff»! Ramona cursed again, went off the bike and pressed the flat rear tire. Luckily, I had a prepared air cartridge in my jersey. I pumped the tire with the cartridge and prayed that it will be fine for the last 20min. I just can say that we had really a lot of good luck. We reached the finishline as 4th and also got 5th in the overall women classification. After the 4th stage we had about 9 minutes time gap to the 5th overall ranking. But on 5th stage we were able to ride about 14 minutes faster than the other team.
Conclusion Swiss Epic: «In heaven and hell».
Facts & figures:
- 5 days / 5 stages
- 350km & 12’000hm
- 1 place on the podium
- 3 flat tires / 0 crashes
- Uncountable eaten Sponser gels, gummy bears & energy bars
- 1 amazing experience