Raceday

The alarm on my mobile phone was set on 04.10am. As always when I know I have to get up I woke up on my own. The clock showed 03.50 when I opened my eyes. I turned on the coffee machine and started to boil water in the water kettle. I mixed 7 Liters of warm sportsdrink. That should be enough for two athletes and 100 km. At 5 am my co-supporter Agnes and Uwe Hardter, Olaf´s friend,  were here and off we went to Schonach. This time I was the one driving the car. Thanks to Agnes for the helping hand during the race with mixing bottles, handing out gels and bars to our athletes! It is pure stress to be part of the service crew. Now I know why the service personel is always so tired after a day helping out me. I am dead tired at the moment..
In Schonach we arrived at 6 am. Olaf and Uwe picked up their numbers, weighed their backpacks (has to be 4 kg at the start and 3 kg at the finsh) and went off to test ther skis. All was fine and they went inside the school center, where the race office was for a while to keep warm. I brushed the skis, put one layer more off gripwax. We call that last layer “nerv-layer”, because it is useless, but good for your nerves :-).
7 Minutes to the start. It was still dark. Agnes+myself  left. We wanted to reach the first feedzone at km 4 in time. Be ready to hand out new skipoles, if the guys had managed to break them at the start. We found all the feedzones easily and could hand out drinks and energizers. All went so smooth. Only on Thurner at km 42 I did not have a gel in my pocket. I know how it is when you don’t get what you want. Shit, what a mistake of me. From there it was about 1 hour skiing time to Hinterzarten and there was nowhere we could feed. So I hit the gas pedal and drove to Hinterzarten. Changed my winterboots into my skiingboots, took the bag with food and drinks and started to ski. I met skiers all the time as I was climbing up towards Thurner. At least I could hand out this bloody gel a few km earlier. I was sweating, the sun finally came out and it made such a big difference to the earlier grey and windy weather. As I saw Olaf, he got his gel, squeezed it into his mouth and just continued the downhill. I had to double pole really hard to keep up with him. I had not waxed my skis and his skis worked perfectly at that time. As we came closer to Hinterzarten at km 60 of the race, there was a sign saying that the finish line will be in Hinterzarten – for everyone. On top of Feldberg, which was further on the way,  it was apparently very windy.
There were many skiers who were disapointed, also Olaf and Uwe. They both wanted to do the 100 km. I was also disaponted because the plan was that I would do the last 40 km with them and carry the food and drinks.
There is a time limit of 5,5 hours in Hinterzarten and the 60km for those who want to do the 100 km. That is quite a tough limit and you really have to keep on going a steady and hard pace if you want to make it. So therefore it was a surprise that they stopped the race. The weather was fantastic in Hinterzarten with -10 degrees and blue sky. We know Feldberg and we know that the wind can be very hard on you, but the people who make it to Hinterzarten within the time limit are in good shape. They would have made the windy part on top of Fedberg as well. We talk about only 15-20 minutes exposed to heavy winds on open terrain before you are on the windshelterd part of Feldberg. I am pretty sure that the open fields in the first part of the race were much colder than it would have been on Feldberg. The sun was shining at that time.
The wind came from the eastern direction and the track goes from east to west, so tailwind for athe athletes. In France, they did the famous “Transjurassienne” race today. Over there, it was -20 degrees and the track goes from west to east. The start was delayed a bit, because the track had to be prepared during the race. It was so windy that the machines had to remake the course 15-20 minutes before the first skiers. Otherwise there would have been no track. Imagine skiing against the wind! That s so cold! The Backpackskiers in Black forest were lucky having a tailwind today. So the decision to stop the race, well let us say, was disapointing.
Anyway, hat off to everybody doing the race. Skiing in Black forest is very hard. It is only climbing and tricky downhills all the time. I think in the entire 60km course today, maybe 1 km was really flat.
Next on the schedule is my training camp in Fuerteventura from Monday onwards. I usually combine skiing with more and more cycling from end of February onwards, but with the forecast at the moment, I cannot see any rideable conditions here in the near future.

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