Description: Marathon Race
167km, 3500m of climbing, 6.17h,
Second place, 18sec behind winner Todd Wells
I am stranded in Boston right now. I did not make my connection to Zürich even the pilot waited for me for an other 15min. Due that waiting time the plane had to fly a different route and used 1500l of extra kerosene… I know that because soigneur Christine and mechanic Bundi made the plane. The pilot invited Bundi into the cockpit. He even gave him a bottle of wine for me, since he felt bad not waiting any longer. Btw Christine & Bundi made the flight because they had not to wait for they’re hand luggage which on my side got taken off when I boarded last into the plane from Denver to Boston.
Leadville is a super hight altitude race (3000-4000m) For to get used to it we stayed in Breckenridge for 1.5 weeks and the last one in Copper Mountain. I never stayed in a bigger villa then for that last week. Real America millionaire style and the rent was even very cheap.
Leadville does not have good accommodation especially for a big team as we are. Copper is 30minute drive away from Leadville. So on race morning 4.15am it was wake up time, breakfast rice with 100% choc powder and nutella, 5am ready in the car (well with me it is a little later then).
I normally don’t warm up before a marathon race but Leadville is different. It is so cold at the start and even a neutralized downhill for the first 8minutes at around freezing temperatures. So I spin my legs on the rollers for to get warm from the inside out, then thermal jacket on and ready to go the the start line.
I felt really good in my training before and I was confident that I can finally win this race, but all those hopes blew off into the air when I lost a little bit of rear tire pressure due a side cut before Power Line. I was not 100% sure if I did loose air, but as soon as I hit my rim very hard and finally blew up the tire I knew that I have lost air prior and now winning or beating the course record will be more and less impossible. While I was bombing the fixed wheel with CO2, Rabon Franti arrived and gave me his wheel. Thanks a million time Franti, without that help I would not have finished second for sure!
I ended up chasing for almost 5hrs. I caught Alban Lakata who also suffered a flat tire so we could at least ride together up Columbine and a while back too. Alban did not have his best day and we unfortunately could not help each other out. After the second last feed I also took a wrong turn. I promise it is not easy to keep up the concentration in this thin air!
With 45min to go I suddenly got the information Todd is only 2min ahead and Hynek pulled the plug. Hynek was leading the race by 8min -to my position at some point- and now the thin air hit him hard. It was a real Hitchcock final. On the last 15min Todd came close and closer and I seriously gave everything what I had left in my tank and that after 6hrs…. I missed the win by 18secs. I only needed one more small climb, but with if, what and what ever you don’t win races. I am very happy also for Todd and the whole team. As always we all worked so professional towards this big race but also with lots of fun and “entertainment”. The best team ever and a big thank to everybody!
On the video link 1 you can check my special aero equipment from Specialized:
Bike wise I raced my hardtail Stumpjumper with Renegade Control (rear) and Renegade S-Works front.
Link 2 is the Cyclingnews race report: