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Montag, 8. Juni 2015

Road Bike Marathon St. Pölten_7.6.2015

My first participation to a road bike race (without swim for start and run for finish).
It was a great day, an excellent race for me, a hot day but not a killing one, a very good experience inside a sport which is quite different from triathlon (I mean, of course, the cycling segment during a long distance triathlon).
Wonderful route, friendly competitors, good food and beverage at finish, only 2 hydration points on the 80 km route (km 36 and km 56 after long steep climbing), well organized, enjoyable atmosphere at start and finish, but not so much public.
A sort of "the strange event from Sunday" in a very hot day and in a peaceful beautiful city .... St. Pölten!
Yes .... at 5:30 a.m. I left the room to go pick-up my participation kit and after that I could not stop to take pictures around and to almost be too late back for the start at 8:30!!
Saint Pölten in the morning hours - a different material about Saint Pölten will be followed, for sure.
Pictures taken in the early morning are special, the game lights-shadows is amazing, even in a city suffocated by buildings ....
I thought I will be very quick and I will can take a longer breakfast, I mean 30 minutes, not only 10!
But from a street to another, from a corner to another, from a statue to another ..... no people on the streets at that hour ... difficult to give up.
Then came a man to me, an older cyclist from Graz and wanted to take a picture of me in front of a building which I was ready to photograph. And we talk for about 15 minutes about bicycles, routes, Graz, trains etc.
Then I decided to go, otherwise I would have missed the start!
So, another very interesting city where I should spend 2-3 days and feel the real flair of it.
Race Kit
I was the first one to pick up my kit in that morning, as yesterday it was possible only until 3 p.m and at that hour I still was in Linz. 
The names of all competitors are listed outside in alphabetical order ... in this way:
One part is fixed on the window and stay there, the double part with the same information (your name and start number which was communicated to you per e-mail after you subscribed) you take it and go inside. 
On that basis you get your bag, then you get the timing chip (5 euro rent value and 20 euros guarantee. 
You get the 20 euros back after the finish when you return the chip. If you do not return it, you will be invoiced with 60 euros.
When you return the timing chip you also get a voucher for the T-Shirt and for your meal after the finish. Also the system is pretty efficient and it works very good for everybody.
In the bag you have a gel, a muscle refreshment small spray, flyers, start number. 
I came back to the start area at Landhaus on Landhausplatz St. Pölten about 7:55, just in time to see the first start and to find the other girls from our Vienna Group who came in this morning by car or/and by train.
The Start for the "extreme route" was at 8:00 - 158 km, 2.728 m alt. diff. About 450 participants on the start. When you are new in this sport, in this type of events and see so many cyclists you feel afraid about crashes ..... but in an amazing way I saw no crash here and I filmed the entire start!!
The Ladies Route - 80 km, 1110 m alt. diff. - was at 8.30 
and the men started at 9.00. Me and my mouse were ready for work and fun! After hot day yesterday in Linz I decided to take my special Camelback today and to have cold water with electrolytes with me. And yes, I had about 2 kg on my back, but cold water all the time and this was very good. The first hydration point (only two on the route) was far away, 36 km far away ....
At 09:10 was the start for Family - free of charge, 15 km.
The route is beautiful.
A lot of uphill and, of course, a lot of downhill. I cannot download the information from my Garmin now, I would like to know the maximum speed (maybe 50 km/h, as I am afraid of too high speed and most of the downhills are in curves).
P.S. 57,5 km/h!!!!
I took many pictures while riding uphill, none while riding downhill because of the high speed and dangerous profile (curves).
After 50 km I had awful painful cramps to the right foot toes and I had to stop twice because of it.
For the first 20 - 25 km I had a nice experience in a group of 5 ladies, we were at that point the last ones.  We changed the roles and cycled slipstream for a long while as we were in a route for fun, not in a race :-)
The traffic was open, but few cars and a very good traffic management through the police people, this was great!
As I got closer to the finish I was very satisfied .... one km longer .... so I celebrated with a new picture despite my awful toes pain which made me scream and cry for few seconds:
And I finished after 3 hours and 19 minutes. Very happy with this time, I was a little bit faster as I trusted myself I could be. I thought it will be over 3 hours 30 minutes. Highest speed: 57,5 km/h !!!!!!
About finish:
I finished almost in tears, so strong were the pains of my right foot toes!
Hot day, so no wonder so few public. At the finish nobody expect you, there are no finisher medals as you know from triathlon or run races. If you are not among the best, you do not get a "welcome ceremony" at the finish, as you can enjoy by events as Ironman for instant.
There are some girls with a short questionnaire who come to you and ask you about the race. It was the first edition of a race "Ladies only" and they wanted instant feedback in order to know if they will organize for the next year too.
The questions were - so far I still can remember:
* If the distance of 80 km is OK.
* If the concept of "Ladies only" should be repeated.
* If the organization was well done.
* Your age .... and I do not know anymore. 
Later as I was on the way to my car I saw you could take a shower in the area!!
I returned my timing chip and I've got the T-Shirt.
Then I entered the big tent where I hoped to find the other girls, as I thought I was the last at finish line from our group. But I did not find them among so many people and so I decided to eat something and to drink some cold beer .... I love this at finish!!!!
While sitting and very slowly eating - the portions are so small because I can't eat more and this is why I actually got a little bit from both ..... you normally have to choose, but nobody eats so small portions and the lady was very nice to me :-)
The awards ceremony started about 13:15 and they started due to the nice motto: "Ladies first", so I could see the toughest female cyclists. Number one was from Hungary and I thought she is a he (average speed 34 km/h, she finished in 2h19min!!), second place was from Germany and Austria on the 3rd place.
The lady on the 3rd place was very sad, almost crying - I saw her minutes later :-( I could understand her and I would have liked to comfort her as I know the feeling, I had it some times in my life.
About my place ..... I was not interested at that moment, but one day later I checked up on the site:

I am really happy with my race time, my place, my day.
Thanks to the girls who motivated me to think about taking part to this race and to the one who offered me the participation free of charge. I hope we will ride many other lots of kilometers together, we will start again next year and will be 15-30 minutes faster :-) 
So, about 2 p.m. I left the tent. It was time to pack and drive back home after two days of full activity. My dear cat needed me soon as possible, right?
P.S. 2 days later:
I have a sad news :-(
Before ladies start the moderator asked everybody to look for a black bicycle which belongs to a lady as she could not find her bike anymore.
Unfortunately the bicycle was never found. This is a very sad news and I am so sorry to hear such of stories ......

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