Duna marathon: DNF….

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Ram Bikes

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Yep, it happened, an unfixable technical issue forcing me to quit. Yes, I hate it, but, mtb is a technical sport and these things happen, better get over it, see the good things and get prepared for the next adventures…

So, after a week of terrible sleep – we were waken up every night at least twice by “emergency phonecalls” for the embassy – I wasn’t feeling too strong this Sunday. So, no superday for sure, but would I need a superday to win? After the hot races in Miscolz and crosskovacsi, I learned that racing at these ridiculous temperatures was a different game. If you go in overdrive here, you start to burn out and you can’t do it too much as you are draining your batteries fast and recharging doesn’t work at 35+ degrees… So, conclusion: keep in the comfortzone and drink twice as much as usual. When I studied the profile of the race, I decided to keep calm till km 50, the second big climb to Dobogoko. Before that, I wouldn’t push 1 pedal too much. Then try to do 1 big attack and hope it would be enough to get away and to stay away. So far the plan…

10.00, 42 degrees in the sun waiting to get going. The first kms behind the policecar were a great warming up. After 5min, the roads started to climb and apparentely everybody understood the danger of the temperatures as nobody made a crazy move. At the top of the first climb, we got into bumpy fields and I already understood it: my RAM Podium fully would be my best friend today! 1km further, we got onto fast singles and it took me 5min to feel the limits in the grip in todays ultra dry conditions. After this, I took the lead and enjoyed the bike. After the trail, we got the fast jeeptracks and I moved over, keeping my eye on the HF monitor. Blaszo was trying to play a little in the climbs by breaking the pace and accelerating, but no way today I will play that game. After 13kms, we got to the first refreshment and I received 2 fresh bottles from Gabor and Nora, thanks!!! I had 20kms to drink 1.5liter, perfect J. The track was fast, dry and full of dangerous dry gutters, but when you can just sit in the sadlle and keep on pedaling, the bike stays very controllable. And so I realized that I was getting away from the others in every descent pushing them in working hard(er) to close the gap time and time over again. Ho! Maybe this “not so good” day would become good anyway? The only limit was the signs…. As always, signs were poor and every time is was pulling away, I kept looking back to be sure they were still following and didn’t have missed some turn… Having to slow down in a race is a pure contradiction: racing is about being the fastest, slowing down to find signs is not part of racing!!! ( Just some info:  for every split, there should be 3 signs, 1 before to let you know a split is coming. 1 real arrow on the split to show direction, 1 sign 50m later to confirm the direction, this is in UCI rules, please organizers, take a look at it to raise the level of our national racing to a higher level!!!) After 20kms, we were 4 left: Blaszo, Zsillard, Vigh and me. The pace was not superhigh, but I kept myself from starting to work, no, I would wait till 50… At km 36, we arrived at the foot of the famous skislope and yes, it looked steep! After only 1min, we were forced to start walking and I know I am fast in these conditions. So, I passed Zsillard and made some efforts to get ahead to Dani and Zolli. The walking was good as we could watch a nice show of the motorbike going to crash for sure. It was just a matter of time and yes, there it went. But the next second, I also slipped and went down, I was watching the show too much instead of watching my feet. The motorbike was fine, the guys too and so all ok, little more running to the top, 2 fresh bottles and a big smile from Dani and hop, up to the next long descent. I had 10seconds on Szillard and I think I took 15 more on the next nice single down to the fast forestroad. Ahead again, but I forced myself again to stay cool, to keep just the comfort speed. Maybe they would get back, but I was resting, they would have to push again and after this long descent, it would be the long climb I waited for, so , it seemed the plan would be good… I hadn’t finished the idea when I felt my right foot slip out of my pedal in a weird way? What was this??? I looked down to see the axle of my pedal. The pedal was on my shoe! Oh shit, no!! I immediately stopped to take my tools and hoped to fix it, but, it was the bolt who came of the axle, no tools for that, game over… After 3minutes of trying to fix with a screwdriver, I decided to close the pedal again and to continu with 1 pedal and after 5kms, I catched up with Blaszo and we stayed +- together till km60. I wanted to quit the race, as riding on 1 leg is just asking for troubles, my knee started feel stressed, my back hurted from pushing 1 side only and so, when I recognized Dobogoko, I stopped. I found Silvia and ? and got a nice cold coke to drink away my misery, thanks, I owe you  guys a beer!! From here, I just took the asphalt back to the start-finish. Game over, 78km, 2000deniv, nice training…

I was looking for a test with all the best riders, and now I don’t know.. Sure, I was in 1st position when it went wrong, but that doesn’t say anything, I don’t know how fresh the others were, how they planned their tactics etc… Pft, ok, 1 thing is sure, I wasn’t slow but still I feel like I lost the race. Then again, nothing is more motivating than losing and so, to be on the safe side, I’ll try to do some more intensive sessions to raise my level just a little more. Next weekend, I will try to join the Slovenian xco championships as a xco race will be good as a final training to the transalp. Then, transalp, trans schwarzwald and by the end of august: Matra. I’ll have to wait 6-7 weeks for another battle with the boys L

Have fun and see you around,

Wouter