19th Wachauer Radtage, 16 July 2017, Mautern an der Donau
This year we got to know Tini & Andy from the Radblog geradeaus.at. Andy has completed the Krone Champions cycling marathon over a distance of 156km. He summarized his experiences in his report. The report first appeared on the blog geradeaus.at.
Race report: Krone Champions Marathon
The 19th Wachauer RADtage are history - and so is my participation in the Krone Champions Marathon. The longest distance of this year's edition with 156 kilometres and 2500 metres of altitude. A real spectacle when 2000 people start at the same time. Already on arrival everything was extremely well organized, you knew where to park and there were plenty of free parking spaces around the whole event. Motivated and curious we walked through the biker village to the Römerhalle where I got my starting number. The anticipation was already written in the face of every participant - you could also see it in my face, although I had respect for the long distance.
After assembling my starting number and the transponder, which was glued to the seatpost like a flag, we headed towards the start where we started to set up. For the first time I was lucky and I was in the 2nd row. PERFECT, I thought to myself when I saw the crowd lined up. The end was no longer in sight. That's how I imagine a cycling marathon. 2000 cycling enthusiasts who want the same thing. A challenge. But my challenge today was to master the 156 kilometres of the Krone Champions Marathon. There were altogether 5 ascents in the way, the steepest and highest mountain was the Jauerling. Which I have already described in a previous report.
The Starting Signal
Punctually at 09:00 o' clock the starting signal was given and the mass set slowly in motion. First of all, the 1500 participants crossed the Mautern Bridge together. The long distance started right at the front of the field - its a great feeling to start almost in the first row. A brief look at the bridge and the end of the starter field was far from being in sight. Cycling Feeling PURE. With a neutralized start we went through Krems to Senftenberg where the tracks were separated. The signposts "LEFT LIGHT","STRAIT AHEAD MARATHON" were marked with a huge arch under which one we drove through. Usually I like to ride the light tracks, but this time I tried the long distance. The field shrank noticeably and so it went up to the first climb shortly afterwards.
Krone Champions Marathon: The Race
At the first ascent the groups got smaller and smaller, because everyone drove as good as he could. The following 8 kilometres felt very long but luckily I quickly found the connection to a group. If you don't find a suitable group from the beginning, 160 kilometres can become a heavy thing. My group harmonized pretty well overall. The word "change of leadership" may have been a foreign word for some, but the speed was always good. The track profile of the long distance was really wavy. After a downhill ride we went uphill again over a few kilometres. Counter-rises were not uncommon either. There were quite steep and poisonous climbs on the track, which I hadn't counted on beforehand.
Together with the organizer, we had already pointed out the individual danger points on our Facebook page. There were 360-degree videos, descriptions and signage of dangerous spots on the tracks. This was really very well organized. Very dangerous places were even covered with straw or mattresses. Tini became a witness herself when she saw a cyclist falling into the straw in a curve.
In front of each dangerous bend, a clearly legible signpost with a "DANGEROUS PLACE" had been erected and markings had also been sprayed on the asphalt. Security personnel were present on the fast departures and indeed EVERY crossing was sealed off by several policemen. We cyclists always had priority over car drivers. As soon as we approached a crossroads, the cars were stopped and we could cross. They used loudspeakers and flags to signal that dangerous curves followed. This was great!
The route itself was also laid out in such a way that it was more likely to be on quiet roads than on the main roads of the locals and tourists. The finish was closed for the whole day and cars had to drive a small detour to get us all safely to the finish.
Back to the race scene.
In my group it went very well, the speed was high and steady. I felt awesome. I had eaten and drunk plenty. Four gels were ready to be used. Before the start of the Jauerling I was highly motivated and drove into the ascent with full conviction. BOOOOOOM - that was it, I thought in the first ramp. Where did those nasty cramps suddenly come from? Shifted one gear back - gel pressed in and slowly cranked up, so that my cramps didn't show up so badly. Not only did my gear shift go off - one of the gearshift cables started to dissolve. Now also cramps. This means endless time loss. Never before so many competitors passed me. It was almost depressing. But I didn't think about giving up and tortured myself up the Jauerling. THANK YOU to my dear Tini, who gave me "water" and the wind vest but also for the mental support.
The Final Climb
After the Jauerling downhill run - with a really fat opposing climb - followed a 20 km long flat section. It was then "finally" on the final climb. I could hardly wait for the climb, because I knew there is the finish after that. But this ramp really war really hard. At the beginning it wasn't that steep, but after a few turns it was back in front of me. Metre by metre I moved towards the finish. There were hardly any groups left that I could stick to. So I fight my way up the mountain alone. At the last refreshment station i ate a banana and drank an energy drink for the first time. I needed this energy boost to reach the finish line. Stayed focused once more and now downhill. This was great. Not a single car came towards me. In the shady track I race down. Now it was along the Danube, the last kilometres to the finish line. Rolling over the finish line the cramps reappeared and I was more than relieved to have conquered the huge challenge "Krone Champigons Marathon". Finally, there was an iso-drink from Enervit for all finishers. I needed that too.
I am already looking forward to the 20th edition of the Wachauer RADtage and will again face the challenge with 156 kilometres. This time with a little better preparation. My conclusion: If you don't have the right preparation, you should rather face the 99 kilometres, as you only have to climb a "mountain". At the 156 kilometres like at the Krone Champions Marathon there are some more...