Date: 17.06.2015 – 20.06.2015
Description: Marathon Stage Race
4 days of total 270km, 8’860m of climbing, 11.35h racing time
2nd place overall, 5.32min off winner Juri Ragnoli
My crash in Gränichen really did not “went down well”… I was riding with my team mate Sam Gaze on the bike path next to each other. When we turned left off the path I did not see two big rocks in the drive way (for blocking cars off) and I crashed straight into the one with my chest and leg. Haven’t been in such pain since a long time. I almost had to puke and felt dizzy. I ended up 6 hours in hospital and left with pain and lots of painkillers plus a very bad feeling in my head. At that point I had no idea if I can race “Bike Four Peaks” or World Champs my final race as a pro.
Making the long story short my road to recovery was very painful and spiked with a lots of up & downs, but luckily more ups then downs.
I was already happy to be able to start “Bike Four Peaks” but my head and legs were not really into it on the first day. I did not have any “tunnel” vision and my legs felt one speed only. No acceleration! They were “sealed” and obviously I lost also a lot of time in the downhills to a charging Ragnoli who beat me by almost 5min on that day. Without a positive wonder the overall was out of sight!
Day two did not started any better, but luckily we did not climb as long as the day before, so I was hanging in there. Racing is such a mental game and coming close to the finish and charging over the last hills I got very excited, my heart rate finally also started to jump so as my legs span for free. The final sprint I lost by a few cm to Calle Friberg.
Day three was my day and also the kings stage. After a 10km neutralization we climbed 1300m straight up and it was Ragnoli and myself braking away. I tried hard to drop him on the following climbs but he could stay on. We more and less charged uphill by more then 400 wattages all the time. Also the long and fast downhill to the finish did not made any difference, but this time I won the sprint and finally I won a race again since the ABSA Cape-Epic. It was also the first day I did not take any painkillers and I started to feel very positive for worlds.
Day four’s profile did not have any long climbs and the racing was pretty nervous. Unfortunately I had a double flat tire at the same time in a rockier gravel descend in the four mens leading group. Luckily I brought two big co2 with me, plus I could plug the tires with my super South African plugs. The hole fix took me 3-4minutes and it was still an hour to go to the finish. I had an incredible run and almost caught the leading group again, well missed it by 30sec at the end. Probably my best performance this week next to yesterday’s stage and even with the double flat I could defended my second place overall.
Now I am looking very positive ahead to World Champs. One week to go….