Xterra Czech - solid working my way up to the podium
August 8, 2015
April 5, 2017
Snow Bike Festival Gstaad - pure bliss
January 24, 2016
The training for this event was a lot of fun already, but I had no idea how much fun these 3 days would be. The Snow Bike Festival Team created a big mountain bike party for us with just smiles during the 3 stages and a night eliminator race.
Fresh snow from the last day and clear skies made the early morning in Gstaad very cold. Even when wearing all my cloths indoor in the event hall I was still chilly. Trying to warm up I joined the numerous guys circling indoor with their fatbikes. Still not warm and it was about time to go out and ride over to the start line. It was -10C there and the town still in the shade. The start was neutralised, still many riders tried to get into the very front. Not knowing a lot of people from this community I could only guess that some big names made it to the start this morning. A few guys from team IAM, a few guys with fancy outfits and a lot of people trying to be in the front. The first uphill made it quickly clear that some very good riders, or very insane riders are around.
The pace was brutal and in the downhill the risk was high. The second and longer uphill took us to the top of the Eggli Skilift and 1000m higher then the start. Once up there the downhill took us on the sledging slope and all the way back into the valley and to the finish line. The 25km stage was one big blast and I was in the top 6! My Cannondale CAAD1 FatBike with 12kg was a good match to some of the other high-end machines in the lead group.
The weather changed, in the lower areas there was rain this morning, Gstaad got lucky and there it was just a bit foggy. The downhill of stage 1 was todays uphill and we made it again up to Eggli, this time the downhill was on a red ski slope strait down. The slope had its challenges and many riders learned that a fat bike goes well down on strait surface, but not so well on slopping surface. Once you reached the side of the ski slope and got into the deep snow the tumble was inevitable. I made it luckily without any tumble down and just seconds behind the top 4 guys. In the following few kilometres I managed to catch up to Julien and together we tried to catch the 3 leading riders.
Once at the turn around the leaders realised what we are doing and countered with a big change in speed, which we could not match anymore. around 33km I payed the tribute to the high effort chase and my tank was nearly empty. This was also the point where Konny Looser caught me and blew by like I was standing still. Making it in 7th position to the finish line secured my 6th place in the GC.
Same day we had a night eliminator on the menu. The organisers created a short lap on the ski school hill for us. about 400m long and with 50m uphill the lap the course was set. The format was with 4 riders and only the top 2 would make it to the next round, reappearing this format until the last 4 riders race it out in the final. My first round heat was quick and I made it first to the finish. In the second round I had a bad start and came in second.
The third round I changed my starting position to try it out, but realised that the distance was too long in the first corner and got second again. In the semi final I moved back on the inside line starting position and this time the riders were a lot more aggressive, result one riders pushed me in the corner into the fence and that was it for my chance for the final, a second collision with the same rider made that the absolutely sure - but I beat him at the end.
Again a nice weather day, temperature around 3 degrees and a highlight on the menu with a lap around Lauenensee. This stage was the shortest one with only 25km and 500m elevation gain. The start was super fast. Many riders switched from fat bikes to 650b+ tires over night and this changed the dynamic in the lead group a lot. Half of he top 6 guys now came on the skinnier + tires flying up the hill. Good I check the course on the day before and realised that there was a lot of road or larger path in the stage and so I had my tires pumped to the max.
Almost at the top of the stage, close to Lauenensee, the lead group was still together, but then Jonnatan Tschopp surged the speed and following the group split up into single riders. I managed again to catch Julien on the downhill and we made it together close behind Daniel Gathof and Tomas Misser to the very finale ski slope downhill. In this downhill Julien took a tumble sliding off piste, but in the flat section to the finish line he could catch up again to me. We started to sprint for 4th and 5th place and I managed to cross first of us two. I am super stocked taking 4th and in the GC 5th at this year Snow Bike Festival in Gstaad.
A big thank you to the organisation, sponsors and volunteers that made this outstanding event happen. I will be back for more soon! Fat biking is at its start and will only grow form here - very fun! Baie Danki!