Transalp - day 8 (it's over!)
The last day, and we already know it will be harder than what it looks like. Only 1800 m of climbing, but we know some of it will involve pusing the bikes again. But we really were worried about the last 70 km. It looked flat on the elevation profile of the day, but - knowing the winds in this area close to the Adriatic Sea - we knew it will be headwind all the time.
During the climbing at the early part of the stage I realized my legs were toasted, I kept pusing but couldn't get any force out of them any more. Looks like Michigan is not the perfect training ground for such a race. I hoped I will feel better again in the last flat 70 km, since those were my conditions: flat and headwind - welcome to Michigan. Once we started riding in the wind I really felt a lot better, but Frank and I couldn't manage to ride up to a big group ahead of us. So we reduced the speed a little and waited to be caught by another group of riders. We finally were togehter with about 50 other racers and maintained a steady pace - we knew it will be over soon.
Like always, some teams kept pushing the pace (including us), while others hang back to draft comfartably. Getting closer to town we started some attacks, but never were able to really pull away. Once we saw 121 km on the computers we were surprised that we still weren't at the finish, because that was todays announced distance.
We didn't have to wait much longer before we finally saw the sign "FINISH" - during the last couple of months I often thought what it will be like to see exactly this sign, but it was all different. I even can't describe what I actually thought. But I was happy, that's for sure.
We pretty much maintained our overall position, ending up in 74th. Our goal was to finish in the top 20%, we missed it only by 8 positions. Still pretty good, even more important: Neither Frank nor I ever got hurt, and it was easy to get hurt badly.
Many people said this was the toughest Transalp race ever, so our final position is even more satisfying and great motivation to continue riding our bikes - just what we like to do.
Alex (and Frank)
Alex and Frank, happy after 8 days of riding 450 miles and climbing 74000 feet.
A day on the beach, that's what our bikes deserve after 8 hard days...