Monday, August 9, 2010

2010 World Marathon Champs - St. Wendel, Germany

I know I am a little behind with my blog updates, but the last while has been super busy and I am only now starting to catch up now with “normal” life. Here's my first update:

After the fantastic experiences of the last two Mountainbike Marathon World Champs Ryan and I were really looking forward to this years edition. It was even more special to me since it was going to take place in my home country, in Germany. However, this years profile could not have been more different from the last two races that took place in Italy (2008) and Austria (2009).

Race Profile

While the previous two years featured huge climbs up big mountains with just as long descents (over some amazing single track each time), this year’s course was characterized by countless tiny ascents and descents. The course maps also looked very different – this year’s looked like somebody had eaten spaghetti and gotten sick all over a map – it was very compact and consisted of tons of little loops that seemed to use every fireroad there was. The pre-ride showed that each climb was not more than a few minutes and that most of the course would be on fireroads – up AND down…. Not something that fills a true mountain biker’s heart with joy…. It looked to be a very fast (road) race.

2010 World Marathon Champs Course

I was still hoping for my legs to come around for race day – they hadn’t been great all week (I still haven’t figured out this whole peaking thing) and even on the day before they were just feeling heavy and leady and full of lactic acid. On race day then we lined up and were off. And I knew from the start that my legs weren’t happy to go hard. The fast nature of the course meant that the girls stayed mostly in one big bunch and it was important to stay with them.

At least the pre-ride was fun!

However, I was struggling from the word go, not enjoying myself at all. I stuck with them for as long as I could – thank god the speed wasn’t that high, but then a lapse in concentration meant I was spewed out at the back. Just like in a road race there were gone instantly and even though I could see them just a short distance ahead of me I could not for the sake of it close the gap. And so I had to content myself with riding around the very long and not all to interesting fire roads around the woods. I wasn’t too happy with it, but my spirits were dropping even further when I noticed I was running out of drink around 20km before the next feed station. It was a warm day and I was suffering badly, not a situation you want to be in.

Walter, Ivonne, Mel, Werner

I finally arrived at the 2nd last feedzone, completely dehydrated, happy to take on the bottle from Walter. I was hoping to finish before Ryan, but he eventually caught me with about 7.5km to go. But I wasn’t the only person to suffer – I caught another female rider who had completely blown her lights 3km before the finish and couldn’t answer any attack – I doubt she even noticed what was going on around here, so I wasn’t even the worst off. I was glad when I arrived in the finish. I finally placed in 31st place out of 43 starters, a few places down from the last two years in a smaller field, so not a result I am proud of. But unfortunately my legs just weren’t up for it. Now 2 weeks of recovery and social time with my wedding coming up!

Thanks to Ivonne Kraft for being so nice and organizing superb feedzone support for Ryan and I in form of Werner and Walter.

Selected Results:

1. Esther Süss (Switzerland) 4:33:47
2. Sabine Spitz (Germany) +0:01:57
3. Annika Langvad (Denmark) +0:02:54
4. Elisabeth Brandau (Germany) +0:07:51
5. Birgit Söllner (Germany) +0:07:54
6. Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Norway) +0:08:12
7. Kristine Noergaard (Denmark) +0:08:59
8. Sally Bigham (Great Britain) +0:09:56
31. Melanie Spath (Germany) +0:39:42

Full results and report are available on cyclingnews.

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