Sunday, 2 June 2013

Tegernsee Tal MTB Marathon 2013 That Wasn't

Pinning a number on it seems is, for now, the closest me and my
will get to a big European MTB marathon
At least my helmet and glasses were colour co-ordinated!
One of the first things on the to do list when I moved to Germany was to sign up to a big European MTB marathon event. With an entry of 3500 riders and attached to a two day long MTB festival they don't get any bigger than the Tegernsee MTB Marathon, which kicked off on 2nd June in "Tegernsee Tal" (Tegernsee Valley) at the foot of the Bavarian Alps, with a punishing 90km course promising 10'800ft of climbing. So, on Saturday Grace and I headed off on the BOB with a tent on our back and a little bit of trepidation in our stomachs, this was promising to be a little tougher, with bigger, steeper hills than my previous UK marathon series experiences. 

However, I sit here now, typing, at the time I was previously expecting to be finishing, wet and tired and, hopefully, excited by the experience of my first big European MTB marathon. The weather, it seems, had other ideas.....

Signing up promised an epic 90km with passport required as
the route crossed the border into the Austrian alps too. Epic!

It wasn't looking good as we set off from the house, three days of heavy rain had seen the courses for all distances changed, and new courses issues on the Saturday, the day before the race. I was entered in the "Samsung - Streke (D)", and I received details of a dramatically shortened course, which had been cut from 90km to a somewhat modest 40km with "just" 5'100ft of climbing. My heart sank when I realised the course file, titled "NotD" did not mean "not the intended course D", translated from German this meant "emergency D". Soome crazy weather, and some snow from the preceding weekend, had forced the organisers to cut out sections that ran over 1200m high. Not something I had to encounter in the UK! Oh well, best throw in a warmer top and a good waterproof eh?

Arriving at the event, it didn't look good. The (much larger than I'm used to in the UK) expo area was completely shut down. Not surprising, as it was raining, and raining hard, as it had been for the preceding 24hrs and as it promised to do for the next 24hrs too. Things looked up in the sign-on tent. This was more like a huge circus marquee, with a live band keeping everyone's spirits up and a help yourself, "pasta party" that came with large dinner plates, which most people took as a combination of a balancing challenge and a weight lifting test. Once I was happy that I couldn't fit a single sliver of lasagne (vegetarian or bolognese), even a tiny piece of penne, another drop of carbonara sauce or another parmesan shaving onto my large dinner plate, the first part of the challenge began. I staggered with my plate and pasta mountain to a free place in the hall and set to work. I won, man 1 - food 0. And so I retired, victorious and completely stuffed, to a night in a tent in torrential rain.
The early morning view from the tent
Not the ideal weather for a massive big ride perhaps...... 

Waking in the morning the rain was still there, but excited about the race ahead waterproofs were donned and numbers (with names printed on) strapped to bars and we were ready to go.
Two gnarly SantaCruz 29ers ready to roll....
....and my not quite so gnarly tent for the night :-)
Not so bad in the opposite direction!

Ignoring the dark clouds that shrouded the alps, in direction the race would be heading, and looking in the entirely opposite direction, the hills were looking positively inviting..... and it was about 90seconds after this that any optimism that remained in the pouring rain was squashed :-(
As we left the campsite and headed to the arena for the start we were met with bikes and cars headed in the opposite direction, all calling to us "Abgesagt!". The constant rain had caused Tegernsee (Lake Tegernsee) to flood, completely blocking access to the race arena and facilities for all vehicles and, more critically, restricting access for any of the emergency services into or out of town who, quite frankly, would probably be too busy to worry about a MTB race that didn't need to happen trying to rescue people from rapidly flooding houses and sorting out the roads. And so there would be no marathon, emergency course or no emergency course. Oh well.
Somewhat restricted access around the event arena!
The main, and only, road into town, the organisers had no option but to cancel

The good news is it has meant I finally got my race bike up and running, with much unpacking to do an a new job just started, I've been lazy and keep grabbing my hoot of a Highball for the last couple of months. And I have forgotten just how brilliant the Tallboy is. It has had a little spruce up over winter and is raring to go, so without any real excuse, here's a quick look at my race bike of choice for the upcoming season..... and upcoming sunny weather and balmy continental sun I hope!
My Tallboy, 2013 flavour, respendent in blue and white
Bonus fashion points for color matching both helmet and glasses.... there's some matching (summer) gloves too!
OK, maybe I got a little carried away with the name, but I really do like this bike.
New race wheels for 2013: Crest 29er rims, black DT Revolution spokes, blue alloy nipples and blue hubs. Pretty :-)
It didn't see any action, but my number board still said "Rob", that's pro right there, that!

The bikes are cleaned, dried and oiled and tucked away safely, ready for another day and a quick review of the week show's I'm already 435km to the good, so here I am, warm and dry, writing about riding instead of doing it. No bad thing as the blog's been a little thin of late but as summer comes after a injury induced slow start to the year there are plenty of winter miles in the bag. Time to plan another adventure.........

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