Xterra Greece

First time here in Greece for racing made the week before really fun with my teammate Markus.

We checked out the course and enjoyed the beautiful country and great food here in Vouliagmeni. The course was really awesome, I liked it a lot.

The swim start was in a commercial area where lots of people went to the beach, so many people also cheering there. The swim was two loops as usually with a short beach run in-between. After 1500m in the water I came into transition some places back, also my teammate was already on the bike. I was wondering how long it takes me to ride passed him. I felt really strong on this day and my bike was going forward perfectly. I worked myself further and further with a pretty sweet bike split. Back in transition we were a bunch of three people. I went out first, but I got caught quickly, I couldn’t do the pace and I had to let one athlete going. Still feeling okay I focused on the run, the course was quite technical and I didn’t want to hurt myself on the rocks as it was the first Xterra race of this season. There was like 1km in and out from transition and then a circle where we had to run two loops. When I came to this crossing point the second time I knew it was only short until the finish line and no one is behind or close in front of me. But suddenly the guy in front of me didn’t turn into the second loop, he finished his second already like me. So this was a fight. We were running and pushing the pace, we both wanted to finish first. But who will make it?
There was a passage under the road, I jumped 3 stairs in one step and pushed it all out afterwards. I won this battle finally and was only a few seconds ahead of him. My first Xterra of the season I finished on the 9th place. I was ready for more.

 

4 Islands MTB Stage Race Croatia

Stage 1: Krk
Stage 2: Rab
Stage 3: Cres
Stage 4: Losinj

These 4 stages were held on 4 different islands. I did this race already in 2016 and 2017 with my teammate Markus. But this year I was at the startline with my teammate Christopher, and was interesting, because we never raced before, and also the hours we trained together were only a few. Also, this year it was a UCI licensed stage race, which means that there are two categories, like elite and amateur.

On the first day we raced on the island of Krk, the stage started with a long uphill which started on a road but then went into a single trail. We knew that if you are not at the front when we reach the single trail it will be almost impossible to overtake other teams. So we pushed it hard in the beginning to get to the front and it worked quite well. The plan was, to take a little bit out afterwards, but we both felt so strong that we kept on pushing. We collected the other teams until we were at the front of the amateurs. We had the perfect speed, both of us were racing perfectly and we finished the stage without any technical or flat as first amateur team. (19. Place over all)

On the second day we went by ferry to the island called Rab, it was a really shit weather day and the water was pouring down on us like crazy. We couldn’t even warm up properly because it was so bad. We started very fast again to get out of the crowd when it was going to get slippery. On this day we could work together perfectly again, had enough food with us and no problems with the bikes at all, everything worked smooth. (15. Place over all)

On the third day, the queens stage, the longest and toughest day we rode pretty much everything alone, ahead of all the amateur teams when suddenly, about 10km before the finish line 2 teams made it up to us. I was leading the pack, making some good pace on the gravel roads, but when we hit the road, back to the village I took out and let the other teams make the pace. After this smart racing it ended in a sprint finish into the city center of Osor, I managed to pass the finish line first, and Christopher third which means it was our third stage win of the amateur teams. (16. Place over all)

On the fourth day it was a short but steep stage. Until now we haven’t had any decent problems with ourselves or the bikes, fingers were crossed for another great stage. But suddenly it happened, and I got a puncture on my rear wheel in the second downhill due to a very slow athlete in front of us who let us break too much. Anyway, we had to fix the problem but it took us a while because the hole was too big for a plug. We got it fixed finally and tried to catch up again. We really gave it all we had, but the others did the same. We finally finished the fourth stage on the third place of the amateur teams. (14th Place over all)

These stages and results let us race into the top 15 in the overall ranking from the whole 4 days. What an experience.