An extremely tough ultracycling-race should be the test for me as a rookie. The Glocknerman leads over 865 km and 14.949 altitude within 55 hours max nonstop from Graz over Soboth, Abtei, Kartitscher Sattel, Hochtor and Edelweißspitze of the Großglockner back over Windische Höhe, Schaidasattel, Soboth and Kitzeck back to Graz. A challenging undertaking - this time with extreme temperatures of 30°C.
The first 297 km from the start at 16:15 in Graz to Winklern 1 at 04:26 succeeded extremely smoothly. Racing during the night is no problem at all, on the contrary: low temperatures allow speedy cadences. 40 km later in Kötschach/Mauthern I was allowed to get my first 20-minutes-powernap in the racecar ath 6:30. After that the track leads 40 km uphill through Lesachtal with the Kartitscher Sattel to be reached on top of it, which we succeed at 10:00, while the temperature is rising.
A second pause at 10:45 for 15 minutes must be enough to climb the 7 km up the Iselsberg with inclination of 10-12% and blazing heat of 30°. With my team's support, who rotationally runs alongside, we leave Iselsberg behind of us and reach Winklern 2 at 13:00. A longer pause according to the plan shall provide enough power for the climb to Heiligenblut and Hochtor.
And then for the first time in this race something happens ahead of schedule: the high temperatures are energy sapping, after the 22 km to Heiligenblut I nearly faint. Thank God my team medicine
decides in the only right way and orders a sleeping pause of a whole hour in a shadily place.
Without this compulsory break we might not have reached the absolute highlight of this tour. From Heiligenblut to Hochtor 1 I race after a bike change 15 km and 1.336 altitude within 2 hours at perfect shape and great mood. Arrival time Hochtor 1: 19:57. 8 km, further 300 altitude and 41 minutes later I stand on the Edelweißspitze with my bike and may place my autogramme at 20:38 on a list of the Glockner-conquerors.
For the return over Fuschertörl and Hochtor downhill to Heiligenblut and Winklern I ascend again my first bike but with a different seat, as I hoped to release my backside. Withour being aware of
the possibility to risk a DNF by this decisioin. We reach the reporting point Winklern 3 at 22:50 - and there we deviate from the schedule a second time: we prepone the scheduled sleeping
stop at Windische Höhe - on the one hand relieved about the Glockner victory, on the other hand because of the suddenly upcoming aches of the backside.
When departuring at midnight nothing fits anymore: my high mood before the break is history, the new seat aches badly, I can ride only standing, my Garmin was somehow misaligned - the whole mood is zero point. After some extremely painful kilometers, which I had to ride standing, my team medicine forces me off my bike to do emergency supply on my wounded backside. Meanwhile my team changes the seat again. It was thought, that I should try the saddle height, but due to sleep deprivation and pain I returned back on track without trying. The pain was unbearable - how should I race the last 330 km and about 4.000 altitude back home? We ceased our rookie-ultradistance after 537 km and about 9.800 altitude.
What do I learn from this experience? I have the absolute physical and mental power to ride an ultradistance with my team backing me. To finish it we will have to analyse the whole race and learn from the single situations, which leaded finally to a DNF, and otimize it for the next race. The preparation according training and organisation was first class - for definitely critical situations we lacked important experiences. I am proud of our team performance - next time we will finish!