Marathon Szilvasvarad – 1st place

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Ram Bikes

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Specialized Marathon Szilvasvarad: the 1st topmarathon 107km, 2700hm: 1st place

Last week, I had learned the hard way why you should never try to go faster than your shape allows you to. I had died after 45km and I had seen all the ghosts and demons from hell in the next 55kms. No way I wanted to suffer again like that in this weekend!! Last Thursday, I had tried a real interval-training for the first time in 5 weeks and again, I had to turn back home disappointed after 45min. I just couldn’t go into the higher HF-zones, the legs simply exploded and I couldn’t breath well.. L So, the only thing I could do was making easy kms and to hope that it would get better with every day. The Saturday morning, I went for a last hr of spinning and indeed, for the first time, I felt like I wasn’t always going uphill against the wind, I felt better and so I started to dream again…

Sundaymorning, Szilvasvarad, warming up… Nope! I pulled to HF 160 and it stopped again. Pffttt, ohh noooo? Well, it is what it is, I would have to fight with the weapons that I had. I decided to do the full 107km at my own speed, I wouldn’t look at the others (well, at least I would try) and I hoped that would bring me in a reasonable position to the finish without dying too many times…

9.45, start! The first 7kms where on an asphalt uphill and the speed was fine. I tried to play a little with my rhythm, still hoping that my body would wake up, but everytime I got close to 170, I hit the wall. But, it wasn’t that bad as soon we were only 5 left: the 2 Waberer boys, Marci , Fejes and me. I felt the weakest of this group and everytime somebody accelerated, I didn’t / couldn’t even try to follow. And so I was in 4th position soon with Zoltan. The good thing: every time the guys in front were watching eachother, we got back to them. Also, in the descents, it was easy to get back without taking risks. So, I guess we were more or less together till the steepest 2nd hill. Here, I was able to make the full climb while most of the riders got into troubles with the grip. As I was on the xx1 groupset, my lightest gear wasn’t very light, but if you have the power to keep the pedals spinning and thanks to riding my Notubes wheels at 1.7-1.8 kg, the grip was good. This way I suddenly got back into the front. Now, we arrived at the second waterpoint where a nice lady was waiting me with 2 brandnew High5 bottles: perfect timing, great service, thanks a lot for that!!! When I looked around to see the others, I noticed Marci wasn’t there anymore? What happened? Also the Waberer boys had noticed this and so they decided to push a little harder… in the descent… I stayed close, but when we had a small climb they went away together. I had only started the descent again when I suddenly saw Andras on the ground. He crashed on a fallen tree I think. I asked if he was fine, but got no answer. As he got up and started moving when I passed him, I guessed he was fine. After this descent, I was back with Fejes. Now, we got into mudier area with a lot of nice singles where you had to look for the grip. Somehow I lost Fejes (and he was looking superstrong to me, technical problem??) and I almost reached Zoltan. I was just 15 m behind him, but I didn’t want to close the gap as I expected him to accelerate then. Today, I had to be supercarefull, to save every joule of energy, because I was still very afraid getting an empty battery… And so, we drove behind eachother for some time till we arrived on a fast asphalt descent. Here, I think I had the advantage of my 75kg and I got to him J. He was very nice and started to work from the first second. We made a good team but then the big thunderstorm got to us, changing the track drastically. On one of the fast straight descents, suddenly he crashed hard. So hard, I was afraid he was in serious trouble and so I stopped to check if he was ok. He got up, said ok, but I waited to see if also the bike was good. I have had enough crashes myself to know the feeling… The only thing you can do is to jump back on the bike and to try to make the legs spin, hoping the pain goes away fast. So, I decided to wait a little till he got back his power and rhythm. We survived the T-storm together and the trails were nice, even some technical rocky descent that I loved! Now, we reached km70 and it became even more muddy. But, I was still feeling ok, concentrated well on drinking and eating and so we arrived at the last ascent of the day together. As expected, Zoltan attacked and I tried to keep up. I didn’t really expect to hold on, but the speed was ok… So, following was ok, going faster impossible. But, the same must have been for him I guess. Now, the road became a sticky swamp. You know, the kind of mud that makes the wheels 3 times wider and big parts of mud were flying everywhere. I started to pray for the transmission, because this kind of conditions can kill the bike in a second… Because of this sticky, slippery mud, Zoltan also stopped attacking and we got to the last waterpoint at km 95 together. From here, it was only a few kms to the last top and then all the way down to the finish. But first, we still had to survive some steep climbs and unfortunately, when Zoltan tried to shift to the small ring in the front, the derailler locked up ( I think). I waited a second for him to get it right and continued, but only 5sec later, it must have happened again as I heard him swear… Now, it was out of my hands, I had to accelerate, I had to make the final attack here… I tried to be gentle on my gears and my legs, but still to go as fast as we had been going in the previous attack + 2 heartbeats faster J. And I never looked back… Soon, I arrived in the descent and I was in the traffic from the other distances , as everybody was using this final stretch to get down to the finish. Hmm, I didn’t want to take any risks and the motorbike in front, well…, I passed it, so that wasn’t too usefull…. I went down ‘easy’, somehow still expecting Zoltan to come back, but I made it! Waaw, never expected to see the podium today, but now I was winning this one: great! And without dying, incredible!! Man, I was so happy!!

So, Szilvasvarad has been nice to me :) and now it was time to enjoy it even more with all the small restaurants just next to the start: perfect place for having a great time with all the friends! Yeah, we are all lucky people: to get this atmosphere, this friendship, these adventures and these good races every weekend! Man, what more can you ask for? I hope to recover fast now and I already look forward to the next adventure in Epleny :)

Ciao, Wouter