From different sources of informations ( TV, text, internet) I got infos about the weather in every 2-3 hours. In the afternoon it seemed that the 2 days old forecast that said changeable weather, was changed for better one: the rain’s probability decreased to 15-20% at Brenner and Innsbruck and even 6 hours sunshine would said to shine. In the TV it was said that between two rainy day sthe Sunday would be basically dry and only in the afternoon can be occur scattered showers. For the morning 10 degrees Celsius was said for Sölden. It seemed good, we were optimistic.
In the evening our pleasant squad tried to define the right clothes when we got the last sms from the organisers: There will be 4 degrees Celsius by the start, put on warm clothes and wished us all the best. We laughed in agony. After a fine pasta dinner we went to sleep after 11 pm.
>2010.08.29. ÖTZTALER RADMARATHON:
My clock rang at 5:12 am, the thermometer showed 7 degrees Celsius, but the rainclouds went away. On my touringbike there are fenders and beside the handlebars-bag I carried a small rucksack on the luggage rack, so I didn’t have problems how much clothes to carry. I put on short sleeves jersey, polar long sleeved jersey, a normal long sleeved jersey, then wind-vest and breathing jacket with polar cap and warm gloves.
In the rucksack beside the machanic kit and ebergy bars I carried raintrousers and galoshes. Pedalling to the start we could see that the surrounding mountains were covered with light snow above 2300m. We saw a few guys pedalling in short biketrousers, when one of them cycled backwards we laughed: „-He goes back to change for a long trousers ” By the start a helicopter watched us from above. 12 minutes after the official start we rolled though the gate on which we could see:” Good morning, here began your dream! It made me think about it a little bit and I as I reached my soul I understood how much this day would mean to me: This day I could make my dream come true, to have the greatest achievement of the classic bicyclemarathons. A GREAT DAY WAITED FOR ME!
I thought I was between the most motivated participant, because:
For the marathon I prepared a precise schedule; this small goals led me to reaching the great goal. I calculated for each sections short stops, rests and besides I hoped the effect of the faster field.
I wrote the travelogue from sections to sections:
Sölden – Oetz (7:40; net time: 40:43)
We hardly left Sölden I looped ahead a little to reach higher speed and after a few kms I found an ideal group with 40-45 km/h (on a descent surprisingly 65-67 km/h). Coming closer to Oetz we could see that the top of the mountains is lighted by sunshine; we could hope for good weather. I reached the corner, exit to Küthai (2017 m) 7 minutes before my schedule at 7:47.
Oetz (812 m) – Küthai (2017 m: 9:27-9:47), climb’s net time: 1:35:27
Küthai’s climb is 17,5 kms long and has more than 1200m heightdifference, so it is averagely 7,5% steep, but partly 10-11% steep for kms and for half km it is 15-16% steep.
The field slowed, everybody adjusted to his/her normal pace because it was a long ascent. I went with 8-10 km/h with the field, sometimes I overtook a few people if they were slower than the field. By the 9% steep part next to the stream I recorded a hungarian touringpartner (Berger, BIG member) for video, but I should say: videofilming isn’t a light thing this time, because you have to keep the handle bars with 1 arm and push the pedals with such way. By 1200 m the Sun lighted onto the road and it has pleasant mood to see the shined racers and their blews. By the serpentines (with cows along the road) I saw a 120cm small woman riding a special small bike with ca. normal wheels; she could keep the field’s pace. Congratulations! By this time another hungarian guy arrived from back, so I could record him and later another guy for videofilm. I felt good to hear that Dani’s opinion is that I am the guy of 7 of us, he is sure who would reach the finish line. (It is not about our speed, but how we prepared for the Ötzi. I did everything to have enough chances.)
Cycling through a small village local inhabitants clapped for us. Reaching the 15% steep part, after a while the field went into a jam, because more and more walked next to their bikes. I tried to cycle for a while, but at last I had to stop and walk. I was angry: Because of those who decided to cycle by using too hard gears, everybody has to „suck”. Shit!
On the last 5kms we could see the landscape ahead with the dam of a lake and later Küthai village. Again we saw clapping people, fans (I enjoyed very much) and a molino with text on it: „Amazing!” By the refreshment point I went for food and hot drink (and soup) after taking a few photos and recorded it for videocamera. Light wind raised the cold feeling (ca 7 degrees Celsius). On the steep part of the descent I reached new speed record: 86 km/h.
Innsbruck (590 m) – Brennerpass (1375 m, 12:13 – 38), climb’s net time: 1:36:20
I turned towards Brenner 25 minutes before the closing car. On the ascent in a short time small groups were born; for a while I overtook a few cyclists, then founding an ideal group. I joined them and enjoyed cycling (30-33 km/h) without feeling the speedwind. I just pedalled with a hungarian girl, Nora (BIG member) by the Brenner viaduct and recorded videofilm, when from a servicecar a guy took a picture about me with laughing. For him it seemed strange that I wasn’t a real racer, but a bicycletourer with luggage rack, touring bike and with videocamera For me the dekagramms wasn’t important, but I wanted to record my memories. After the event I can say: There is no such money for that I could shoulder to cycle it without having photos and videofilm. Before the Brenner plateau looking back I could see the nice valley with the road built onto the mountainside with supporting pillars. There were few hundred cyclists behind me. By the refreshment point I met with Berger and Dani (Nora reached the pass 6 minutes before me), but while during that section I didn’t eat enough I sat onto a bank and ate calmly enough energysource: soup, cakes, Corny bars, bananas, etc. I knew if I didn’t eat enough, I could probably reach the end of my strength during the 15 km long, 7,5% steep Jaufenpass ascent and reaching the timelimit by St Leonhard would be questionable.
Entering Italy – as on my trial tour in 2009 – we were welcame by pleasant weather. As I cycled through Vipiteno a molino told us: „A new dream began!”
Vipiteno (950 m) – Jaufenpass (2099 m, 14:54 – 56), climb’s net time:1:33:22
The not too much time I had for the ascent caused that I couldn’t live it as cycling only for joy: for the climb I had max. 15 minutes for stops (photos, video + at refreshment point): not too much!
The Jaufenpass is 15 km long with steady 6,5 – 8,5% steepness without any light part. I ride it third time and enjoyed again the wonderful views to the snowy peaks and grassy valleys by its start. Up to the end of the forest I usually stopped after every 3-4 kms when those 20-30 men who I overtook cycled ahead of me again. At halfway a guy who overtook me slowly showed me with his hands: „-You push it well!” Thank you. By this time the winner finished the Ötzi.
Above 1800m we could enjoy beautiful panorama again with cyclists riding the serpentines and grassy, rocky mountains behind them under the scattered cloudy sky. By the refreshment point I spent only 3 minutes to take enough energy bars, bananas, etc with me. Because of the hurry that I had to do, on Jaufenpass I was the fastest of our group with the 7 hungarians, but the others were 46 – 20 minutes ahead of me. The reason for 20 minutes was the time I spent for eating at Brenner.
I had read the information paper, so I knew that at such late time the descent was closed yet, so against the others I used the total width of the road and so I overtook ca. 20 riders to St Leonhard, that I reached in time.
St Leonhard (695 m) – Timmelsjoch / Passo Rombo (2509 m, 19:25 – 36), climb’s net time :2:41:23
By the start of the Passo Rombo I enjoyed having luggage rack on my bike, onto which I could take my warm clothes and I could push the pedals wearing short trousers and jersey on me. We cycled by pleasant summer weather one of the TOP 10 alpine climbs. Few cyclists followed each other in every ca. hundred meters; most of them calculated with more hour long struggling, fighting up to the summit.
The climb of Timmelsjoch / passo Rombo with ts 29kms and 1796 m (6,2% steep) heightdiff is the 113th hard of the more than 10000 ascents of the climbybike. Halfway it has almost flat kms, but before and after it there are 6-8 steep kilometers. At the end, the last 5 of the 8 kms were 9-10%. Serious!
By Moos I stopped for a while for a short snack: in the last few hours every minute was expensive, but now I had enough time and I knew this climb well and knew me too. In 2009 on my trial tour my net time was 3 hours. After the village the road twisted and turned on the grassy, panoramic mountainside. Every few minutes I overtook guys on Trek or Simplon or Scott, etc bikes. In a bend the molino told us: „-Have you dreamt it?” Although I cycled in the last 15% of the field, overtaking people on expensive and light bikes simply gave me more strength. An expensive and light bike doesn’t mean that without enough training he would cycle the Ötzi to the finish.
Above 1400 m I saw guys walking by their bikes; no comment. I had enough time, so I didn’t regret time for taking photos or videofilms: THAT WAS ONE OF MY GREATEST EVENT, CAN IT BE UNDERSTOOD, CAN’T ?
I could afford – that I didn’t try on La Marmotte – that I stopped, stood my camera onto a rock and cycled back to record for videocamera myself riding my bike. I didn’t think ahead about the success, simply enjoyed the landscape, the great feeling on one of the hardest and noted classic (not extreme) bicyclemarathon. I didn’t thought about it, but deep in my soul I felt: I only had to cycle to the finish. I was sure I would reach the finish – deep in my soul.
The known, almost flat part gave first view to the „WALL”: the 9-10% steep, rocky muntainside, where the road twisted and turned up to the summit.
By the sunshined Bad Schönau refreshment point (17:27 – 50) girls in Traumdeuter (dream reader) jerseys serviced the cyclists. Here there was massage service.
Before that time I cycled twice the Passo Rombo (I hardly remember the 1st, when cycled by bike with heavy pack (25 kg) on it), but last year I pedalled there by sunset and by darkness, so I couldn’t see so beautiful the snowy mountains and the glacier. At 1850m high a textile with sentence on it was taken onto a rock to motivate a german guy: „-Your dream will come true, Marco, the finish is near, give it everything, you can!” For me it was also good to read it, while I could also feel it and enjoyed the Ötzi very much.
The road was built onto the steep mountainside, somewhere supported by pillons. Because of the frequent photo-taking and videorecording (sometimes with stops) I had to recalculate my estimated time for the summit: I had to warn myself to limit my stops but I kept my hands on the „occurances.”
After overcoming a man again, I heard second time from my back the same: „...- oh with such an easy gears…”, but that time I didn’t let it without words: „-Not because of that!” I cycled more than 155 times above 2000m and summerly I cycle in the Alps.” - and I haven’t even spoken about the weight differences of the bikes. Otherwise everybody had the occassion to change his gears on his bike.
Above 2200m the hairpin bends were decorated by dozen of hanging Ötzi marathon jerseys, which – behind the scenic landscape raised the wonderful mood of the Ötzi. By a hairpin-bend film-makers were recording videofilm when I arrived there. Quickly I took my videocamera and recorded them too with laugh on my face: „-Hello, ciao, Alles gute!” I enjoyed every moment and lived the feeling of happiness! That was cycling for pleasure.
Above 2200 m almost by each 150-200m I met with at least one cyclist who walked next to his bicycle. 3 hairpin-bends above finally we arrived at the tunnel, coming outside of which we found ourselves on the last km before the Passo Rombo (2509 m). On the summit (9:14-27 pm.) a banner with text on it stated: „Your dream came true!”Rolling through the Red bull gate, a photographer took pictures about the successful and brave cyclists showing happiness reaching the top. As I stopped and recorded videofilm again, the happyness and emotion could be heard from my voice: really one of my dream came true, or totally only after te finish. I WAS HAPPY. I remembered those (with much less visited alpine ascents ) who disdained me and disdained the bicycletourers who don’t cycle without any packs and don’t cycle without any stops. I felt satisfaction for that, because those people hadn’t cycled Ötzi, but I did it even by a touringbike.
As the best of our 7 men hungarian group clocked 2:55 on the climb, the winner’s (Antonio Corradini) time was only 1:27.
For the descent I put on almost every clothes I had (somewhere by the summit my POLAR measured 4 degrees Celsius (maybe in the tunnel ?), so on the descent I could roll down by 65-70 km/h, and passed few bikers whose speed was cautious (max 50 km/h) because they wore short trousers. As I were speeding down on a long straight section deep emotions broke up from me and I started sobbing because of happiness. It happened, that I missed on the Mont Ventoux after climbing that 4 times in a day (6126 m heightdifference) : catharsis and great gladness, satisfaction, happiness: I DID THE HARDEST CLASSIC BICYCLEMARATHON! I felt that with the finish I demonstrate to everybody not to disdain the bicycletourers, while a bicycletourer riding by a touringbike can cycle the Ötzi without any hurry and struggle.
The short climb by the middle of the descent didn’t surprised me; everybody pedalled with joy on the faces there. Happy, brave cyclists were pushing the pedals towards the finish. I arrived at Sölden by twilight and lights on the streets; somewhere pedestrians clapped for the finishers. Of course I recorded my finish with my camera in my hands and as I rolled through the finish gate I shouted into the air: I DID IT!
By the finish area people around waited for the finishers; by my finish pleasant Dire Strains music was played from the loudspeaker. The speaker told us good sentences (based on their numbers, sometimes told the finisher’s names). By pleasant music he congratulated to all of the finishers and told us: everybody who finished is a winner.
All of the members of our 7 men-women group finished successfully, we soon met each other. Not much after it, as we were speaking about our adventures outside it was raining again. For the morning the mountains surrounding Sölden were covered by fresh snow above 1600-1700m, and 1 day later the Passo Rombo was closed because of too much snow.
Afterwords: With cycling the Ötz valley bicyclemarathon one of my dream came true, and it would remain at a rised / important place in my heart forever: it was an experience for a lifelong. With performing it I closed a chapter of my bicycling adventures. In the world of my thoughts I can resemble it to becoming an adult: I have the cycling adventures before the Ötzi and then the Post-Ötzi adventures will come. With riding it I’m not that bicyclist who I was before it.
Ötztaler radmarathon / Ötz valleys bicyclemarathon
Net time: 10:33:00 Distance: 227,8 km Avarage: 21,7 km/h Heightdiff: 5282 m Kcal: 6886
All of my cycled passes above 2000 m