Monday, September 29, 2008
Race Report: Tawast MTB Marathon
Last week all eyes were on the weatherman - I was looking for at least a nice "sprint race" after a wet summer. It looked pretty bad throughout the week, but the last weather forecasts were looking better. It rained the night before the race but on race day (yesterday / Sunday) the sky was blue and sun was shining, a little bit cool and very windy.
This was my third participation in the race. The first time was in 2005 when it was also a MTB Marathon National Championships and the course was also longer. The next was in 2006. This race has been many years the final for the marathon cup, this year the SIGMA Super Marathon Cup.
The 60 km race course is really nice and super fast... actually it is "stupid fast". A good warm up is really helpful but I didn't have much time for that this year. So, the start was from a sport field and there was a neutral start, we had to ride behind an ATV for the first km and after that the free speed starts. Well, the ATV rode insanely fast, my bike computer showed speeds of 40 km/h! My engine was cold so I decided to ride my own pace and trying to find my rhythm.
The first 30 minutes felt pretty bad but after that my engine started to warm up and I felt a lot better. I was also riding with the new shoes, they felt really good and they support foot really well. My feet were accustomed to the old shoes so this wasn't a super good idea but it was nice to test them right in the race situation. After the first 30 minutes I rode pretty hard, and it was somehow a funny feeling that the course was so fast and technically easy. I haven't regarded myself as a technical rider, my road background should be good for this kind of race, but it seems to me that I have been "transformed" to a more true singletrack rider.
I caught some riders and closer the midway point I was joined by one rider. At one point I chatted with him and it proved out that he had actually ridden in Kangasala 24h this year and placed second! So we talked a lot more and rode reasonably good pace at the same time. For some reason I didn't have any urge to eat anything but I had a couple of gels in my yersey pocket. I ate one after 2 hours of riding but it was a little too late. I bonked somewhere 2h15min, not badly but I didn't have the same energy level I had earlier in the race.
My finish time was 2:44:45,80 (just a little slower than in 2006) and 44th place out of the 72 competitors. Not bad but this years Finlandia was better performance. My average heart rate was 160 bpm (max. 182 bpm) so this was definitely a good exercise. I was well aware that this isn't my kind of race - the top riders have awesome fitness and are serious racers - but these marathon races are still really nice for recreational riders as you don't need a racing license.
Some photos to be posted later.