Haanja 100, EST

Date: 28.09.2013

Description: Marathon Race

100km, 1600m of climbing, 4.09h
1st place, 7sec ahead of Martin Loo

It was my third visit to Estonia already. Every trip has been really nice, and we are always taken perfectly care of Sulev and his crew. By the way at my last visit in 2010, there were no Specialized bikes available in Estonia. I have asked Sulev why is he not opening a Specialized shop or importing it. Now he already owns two Specialized concept stores, one in Tallin and the other in Tartu. Glad to see that the business is going very well.

I travelled with my old friend Silvio Bundi and Paddy Behan, who is also team mechanic. Like that fun was guaranteed!
We arrived very late at the race hotel on Thursday, so breakfast was later. The good and strong Estonian coffee was a treat, but it did not give me good legs going out and ride the end of the course. Of course when the temperatures were not above 5°C and we have been traveling for a whole day the day before.
Afternoon I had a short nap, Bundi until dinner, so he missed out going to see the highest point of Estonia which is around 350m. The view was really nice!

The start was 9.00 on Saturday morning. I was really glad that the conditions were more and less dry and I bet all the 500 other riders agreed to that too! The course was mainly in the forest and almost everything on smooth trails. Really fun to ride, except it was not great rolling. Every meter had to be pedaled, nothing was for free, so as the competition… Martin Loo was really strong on his home soil. Martin is a top 20 world cup racer and we battled it out all the way to the end. I knew I had to be first going into the last single trail 500m before the finish. It was a quite tricky ending, where I wanted to use the whole advantage of my full suspension Epic. Quickly I gained a few seconds and I secured my third win on Estonian soil.

After the price giving we headed back to the capital Tallin. An other amazing dinner had to be eaten. Tried Estonian port wine, which was really good. Party life in Tallin is well known and we had to make use of it too, so my flights back to Switzerland felt short sleeping during it all the way.

More information link

Link: coverage of Estonian TV