I seriously don’t like to drop out of a race, especially due an injury! On Friday I tried everything to get myself over the first big climb, but around 200m before the summit the pain in the outside of the knee was just too much. Like a knife stabbing me during every pedal stroke.
I was really looking forward to this race, since it is basically in my backyard knowing most of the trails, the towns, the mountains and also be with the entire team together on the road again.
Never I have found a better place then to ride then in the Valais/Wallis. The options of technical & flowy trails are endless and the views breathtaking. Unfortunately our racing pace was also breathtaking. I had to deal with a cold/flu from the start on which made my days not easy at all. We pros always started like monkeys day by day. Every team wanted to go into the long single tracks first so that builded a dynamic like there were intermediate finish lines along the way.
The prologue Jaro and I finished in fifth place, the first day in second and on day two I hit the deck…. I hit my pedal on a flat single trail on a rock and I immediately flew over my handle bar. Not super man style, much much more like a meteorite. No sliding, impact only! I was so much in pain. Whole back, hips, hand and also headache. Somehow and also with big help from Jaro we still finished fifth, five minutes behind the winning team Vaude on that day. After it, it just went downhill. The following stage I could not ride the very steep uphill to Grächen any more, since that outside knee pain became too much. I ended up walking and I had small hopes for the next day. There I could rip off my number plate of the handle bar after 2h into the race. Luckily I found a nice single trail down to the valley and a shuttle from the organizer brought me up to Grächen. I still wanted to go to the finish in Zermatt but not in a car… Anyway we made the best out of it and took the train up to Gornergrad and rode our freeride bikes downtown Zermatt. Interestingly standing on the bike & walking is no problem, but as soon as I need to pedal the pain is back again. Oh well riding down is anyway more fun then uphill!