Poročilo s svetovnega prvenstva v 24-urnem kronometru, Borrego Springs 2017

A big thank you goes to dr. Vince and Diane of the Infinity Bike Seat for stepping in and helping me with the race expenses. This Title is for you guys!

The preparation for the race was not exactly perfect, but I was carrying a good turn of speed after RAAM, won the Tortour Challenge in August and felt I am able to do another 500+ miles 24h race. It went a bit bad after the flight to US, as I caught a bit of a cold that got me worried before the race. With coughing, a running nose and a throat ache a couple of days before the race, it seemed my third time a charm (3rd time in a row 500 miles in 24h) might not happen after all.

Coming to Borrego Springs, the heat seemed to help a bit and on recovery rides I felt quite good. The plan was  as usually to pace myself and try to hold the same lap times through the race. Of course I was aware that it would be hard to make it happen with the strong racers in my group. As always there were guys starting really really fast and I just couldn't resist following their lead. So, the first laps were at close to 25mph and over 300W average, which was some 30W higher that I would have wanted for myself. As I felt well within my comfort zone, I wasn't worried at all. The only thing worrying me was the French guy (Perez) always drafting too closely in those first hours. He was either on the wheel of a recumbent rider or way too close behind me. The situation resolved itself in a way not to my liking as I got a flat during the 6th hour of the race. It happened on the top of the climb, some 2 miles before the Finish, so it didn't make sense for me fixing it myself. I continued to ride on the front flat, of course at the slower speed, so the French and Spanish riders were gone. I called Irma to prepare the spare front wheel and wait for me in Pit Lane. The wheel exchange was quite fast, I might have taken less than a minute, in all I lost about three minutes.

I continued at my speed and the lap times that I knew were bringing me towards my goal of 500+ miles. That really was the only thing on my mind. Knowing how hard it is to achieve such a distance I was confident it will also bring me succes and possibly the Title of World Champion. I was enjoying myself in the night lit by a full moon. It was getting somewhat cold, with the minimum temperature of 6°C, but I was prepared for it. The arm-warmers and the vest were in place, the only thing that was missing were knee warmers, but I certainly didn't want to stop to put them on. I like to keep my stoppage time to a minimum and I knew it was going to heat up as soon as the sun is up. I did have some stomach issues, I was on a verge of throwing up and I did have to lower the planned intake, I could barely manage 1 gel an hour insted of two that were planned for. That was probably the reason why I wasn't able to pull back the leaders as I would have liked. My lap times of 50-51 minutes continued through to the morning break as my second pit stop was approaching. It was another short stop to take off my front light, arm warmers and the vest and to refill my pockets with more Winforce gels.

Irma was on top of everything in the Pit Lane in fact she was taking care of me and Anna Mei for the last 12h of the race. My fluid consumption was perfect, the only thing that was missing were some Calories, but it didn't seem to affect my performance a lot, if any. All through the morning my speed was still good and I was on the way to perhaps even better my mileage from last year. I did pass all of my rivals in 50+ category for at least a lap, so the Title was in my hands. And in the Overall standings my position was improving regularly, so I was in 3rd place coming to the last hours of the race. You can believe me or not, but I really was thinking only of "my" 500+ miles. As the wind picked up during the last 3-4 hours, my lap times plummeted to 58 minutes and it was a struggle to make it through the last long loops. We were working a lot harder for lap times that were much slover. Knowing I need around 14 minutes for a short lap, I wanted to cross the Finish Line at least 60 minutes before the finish at 5PM. So, I pushed to my max during the last long loop and I just made it through the Finish Line at 4:00PM. I did the first two short laps in under 14 minutes and could than relax for the last two, knowing I am at the same mileage as last year and no chance of catching the French guy in the second position overall.

Another race done, I managed to defend my Title, in fact it is a new one as I changed the Categories from 40-49 to 50-59. I guess with another 505,2 mile 24h race I proved that you don't neccesarily slow down when you cross the 50 year "barrier". Looking forward tp the next season and setting some new benchmarks… 


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