I like to be in Italy. In Riva del Garda you feel like being in Germany, because 99% of all Bike Festival visitors are German speaking. It is ok for a day or two, but afterwards you are happy to be able to use your Italian language skills in Schio.
But lets talk about the first race. The course in Riva in very though. Actually it is so hard, that the Ronda Extrema should be forbidden for the women. I knew the course from last year and did start very easy, or let say hard and easy. It was important to stay relaxed and make sure to have enough energy for the last 13km long climb.
The start in Riva is very fast. We ride a 5km flat road and every masculine rider can push hard on flat parts. As soon as the climb starts for many of us woman the overtaking starts. Funny to notice how some men are trying to stay with you and they are hardly able to breath anymore.
I was pretty soon the leading woman and could keep my position until the end. I don’t remember much of the race, other than I was so tired up the last climb. I wanted to sit down and just rest for a while. My legs were hurting so much and the climb was just so steep. After 5 hours and 10 minutes I crossed the finish line. I even managed to crash in the last downhill, but luckily nothing severe happened to me or my bike.
After having a recovery drink after finishing the race and shortly afterwards eating pasta I was ready to leave to Schio. I knew that 105km and close to 3600m of climbing would be a hard thing for my body to deal with. No way I would recover until 10 o’clock the next day.
62km and a climb up to 2100meters, this is valleogra.com. A super well organized race and the course is awesome. You have to climb for about 30km and the last 30 is downhill and almost only single tracks.
The elite riders started at 10. This is really the best way to start, especially for us woman. The pro men are so much stronger than us, that we can’t keep up with them. This means, we are able to race against each other. The hobby riders are also not stressing us for the first km.
My body was still a sleep as we started. Anna Ferrari and Roberta Gasparini kept a pace I was not able to keep. I let them ride away and hoped my legs would start to work as I wanted later in the race. At km 11 I passed Anna, at km 20 I passed Roberta. I finally felt ok, not perfect though.
On the top of the climb the sight was only a couple of meters due to a thick fog. I hardly saw anything and I found the first part of the downhill very difficult. It was only a gravel road, but I just could not see anything. The last 20km was fun riding. It is such a great reward to ride the last 20km with only single tracks and everything downhill. I did not even want this part to finish.
I have recovered well from the two races, which surprises me a bit. So training can continue.