Sonntag, 30. Mai 2010

The 300km Belchen Brevet 2010

Eventually spring arrived. And I was in Freiburg for a while. Fortunately this year in Freiburg a full BRM series was offered for the first time. While I missed the date for the 200km Brevet I was participating the 300km ride. Wow - and what a ride that was! There are a few diffrences to the Brevets I did in Großenwieden/Weserbergland: many more participants (about 70 compared to about 30 in Großenwieden). And a very different track profile: The mountains here are actually *real* mountains.
The weather was brilliant, my mood quite good, the pockets filled with some Swiss Franken for getting food on the road (part of the track was crossing Switzerland). I also took my video camera with me. I did this Brevet on my good old Bergamont bike again - the Specialized I hadn't taken with me to Freiburg.
The start was nice and the first serious uphill passage came quickly and went straight over the Blackforrest offering a good view to the Belchen. This climbing action was tough but quite nice. On the peak (about 1000m) I took opportunity to go downhill with a few fellows from Switzland who had a rather tough pace. But it was a great ride. Just before the Rhine a few steep hills were awaiting us (Nordschwaben). Still with the "Swiss express" I rode it up quite fast and probably lost a bit too much energy at this still early state of the brevet.
Anyway, we reached Bad Säckingen at a good time (3h for 80km) and instead of taking a little break to have a breakfast I tried to start off immediately again with those Swiss guys. But at the first ascent after the border (a really impressive old bridge over the Rhine), I wasn't able to keep up their pace. Instead I directly fell into a powerless state and had a hard time to climb up the not that steep hills. I didn't took a break, but tried heading to the next control at the Oberbölchener Haus where I heard a pasta buffet was arranged.

But before that control there was serious work to be done to reach that height the Oberbölchener Haus is located. 15% - tough if you feel powerless. I fought for each kilometer and finally reached that control (@ km116 - 5 1/2h). Unfortunately my appetite was gone and the noodles were way too al dente.
I didn't recover there as I hoped and just realized that I had to discard all my speed ambitions and do the remaining 180km really slow. I was happy to know that from km 200 the landscape was said to be flat again.
The route until there was crossing the Jura mountains. Beautiful sceneries just like taken from a Swiss picture album. The next control a bit west from Delemont was hard again, because it seriously went uphill once more and I also had a tube failure - exchanging the tube costed a little additional time. The control (Souboz, km 167) was at a car workshop. And a few randonneurs were pausing there, they all didn't looked fresh, too. I just went on, was too exhausted to even take a break. The way downhill from there was really impressive: tight rocks limiting the road through an impressing ravine.
Then I somewhere crossed the border to France, not even noticing where it actually was. I tried to take break to recover a bit, but didn't fell asleep and just wasted an hour time. Then the evening came and I finally reached flat lands. I crossed the industry areas of Mulhouse when it was dark already. The working plants were kind of impressive and a stark contrast to the nature-beauty of the landscapes just before.
At midnight (a time I originally not only wanted to have finished, but also be showered and being in bed already) I crossed the border to Germany and was just happy to realize, that I still had enough time to finish the last 30km by coasting. Each kilometer closer to Freiburg were a relieve.
Late, very late (at about 2:30 AM - 18 1/2 hours after the start) I eventually reached the finish and was very happy that this was finally done. I think it was my worst time ever.

I wasted way to much power at the first mountains. Also my fitness state was not good yet (the winter was too long) and once again I ate and drunk too little too late. The beginning was great, but the overstressing at the beginning literally killed me. 2/3 of the tour were a big fight for each single kilometer and height meter. If I had had the chance to abandon the tour at km 100 I had done so, but I needed to go on, so I kept on cycling. Nice to know though, that 200km w/o any power is still a thing that can be done. But actually it wasn't big fun. The weather and landscapes were brilliant though.

Again, a lesson learned. Never ever exceed your inner pace!