Monday, June 28, 2010

2010 European Marathon Championships

It has been a year since my last marathon race. Mountain bike marathons tend to be one of the toughest races out there with race times between 4 and 6 hours with little or no respite.

The Garmin 705 was a life saver on this trip

I had heard some good things about the course for the 2010 European Championships (the 2011 World Championships will be held there too). There were 17 categorized climbs and it seemed pretty much all of them were steep. What goes up, must come down and there was a lot of singletrack descending. The descents, in the dry conditions where not technical but riding them at 35+kmph for the first time, the margin for error drops dramatically.

Waiting to start

The race started with 110+ riders on a hot morning in Montebelluna, Italy. From the gun, the start was super fast as we hit the first major climb, and the only tarmac one. At that point the race already started to break up and I found myself in a group a few too many groups back. I was riding the descents very well and was able to bridge groups but after about 35km, the groups settled into what it would be for the day. The middle section of the race had lots of parts where group riding was imperative, a lone effort trying to bridge was doomed. As the kilometers ticked by I started to feel a little better (I suffered all day, but felt physically sick for the first few hours) and over time dropped the rest of my group and started picking off other riders ahead.

Postcard perfect views

After 130 very tough off road kilometers, and 5 hours 40 minutes saddle time I raced over the line for 43rd. The second half of my race went well but I really should have been in the lead group of 30 over the first couple of mountains - something to work on and get right for the World Championships later in the year in Germany.

I took the follow video a couple of minutes after finishing the race.

My friend Alan accompanied me (took the video/pics you see) for the race to provide support - it was vital and everything surrounding the race went like clockwork. Thanks Alan!

Alan also has a few pictures up here.

Oh, and this is what I ate/drank during the race:
25 minutes before the start - 1 ZipVit Caffeine Gel

During the race
6 ZipVit Gels
1 ZipVit Caffeine Gel
7 750ml bottles of ZipVit Energy
2 500ml bottles of water

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