How does a 14 hour day in the desert of Moab, UT sound to you? Now, do it like the guys from Big Wheel Racing did, and go at it solo and self supported carrying everything you need to survive. I bet they were thankful for the BD2.
Archive for March, 2009
It is finished! Following the eight days of highly contested racing, improvisation to over come problems, and continuous stress, the eight days are over. The team, made up of Austrian Marathon Champion Alban Lakata, and German Thomas Nicke have been through a lot together. The friendship was already there before the start of the event, but eight days of racing, in these conditions is something else. The final result – the pair achieved their aim of a top ten finish, rolling in on Saturday in tenth place.
At the beginning of the week, it was the shear effort involved that was a worry, particularly for Nicke, who was riding his first competitive race of the season. It is worth noting at this point that he works full time and the altitude was not helping! So Lakata could have pulled away, but he slowed up for Nicke. This was a huge advantage, allowing him to save energy. On the last stage they used this to pull out all the stops.
The last stage was 60km long with a huge 1760m of climbing. It took them from Oak Valley to Lourensford. The only thing really of note on this course was the 20minutes of hike-a-bike as in the nature reserve you aren’t allowed to ride. This also saw the race naturalised with no overtaking. As a huge contrast the finish line came after 2:52:18. Hundreds of spectators came to cheer them on, and the circus of the pro race circuit also provided a spectacle.
The top ten finish was only achievable though because of the team work. That doesn’t just mean the two riders – there were also three behind the scenes team members who are happy that it is all over. “The equipment showed little sign of weakness” the team mechanic Lars Hartwich said. “There were one or two punctures I could have lived without though! The conditions here were not easy… everyday saw us having to improvise and go with the flow. That said, it is the result that counts, and we are all very happy”
With a total of 1800km to travel to their next race – Pietermarizburg, Germany for the World Cup debut this season, Team Topeak Ergon is looking forward to , Wolfram Kurschat and Robert Mennen starting their engines!
Picture came to us from UpaDowna.com
The forth and fifth stages – A fresh start for a new day.
The stage on Tuesday saw Alban Lakata (Austria) and Thomas Nicke (Germany) freed from the frustration of the previous days. Without problem, the riders covered the 73km and 2000m of climbing. No punctures, no issues. “We finished 16th, and for me, that is a good result – this race is so tough.”
The stage on Tuesday was short, at only 73km, but not a shred easier. The course followed a path over sun baked and dusty terrain. The whole day is about dust – lots of dust. Another key feature is the kilometres of hike-a-bike. The weather however has cooled off slightly, and the days 25 degrees allowed the riders some respite.
Rock n Roll
The team has not yet achieved what it set out to do, but it is getting there. The finish today saw them take seventh, their best result yet. In the overall classification they are in 12th place, just 13minutes off 10th position. A top ten is still in their sights. “Everyday it seems to get a little better, but also a little worse! Tomorrow we will attack once more. Top ten is our aim!” Nicke admitted, having been told about the classification. That the course conditions cannot be predicted is the challenge for Alban “You are riding in a large group in really difficult terrain. The rocks, the size of baby heads, are what you have to avoid. If you hit one it most likely means a flat”. That said, the problems of the first few days seem to be behind them, and the team is in good spirits. “We have kind of got used to the relentlessness of it” Thomas said “I have found my race rhythm. It is a good thing too. There are still three stages to go.
Tomorrow will see the riders taking on 111km and 2233m of climbing – another difficult day. 30km before the finish there are three long climbs awaiting the guys in green. It will be here that their top ten in the overall will be decided.