Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Ischgl Ironbike, Austria

I've had a break from racing over the last few weeks so that I could train for my remaining goals this season. June was full of racing and tapering and it was time to get some training miles back into my legs. It's been nice to stay at home and ride my favourite training rides, one of which is The Jurassic Beast 

With some high mileage in my legs it was time to head off to Austria for the Ischgl Ironbike last weekend. A quick check of the weather forecast meant that I was packing warm clothes in preparation for rain and lots of it!

The ironbike is a tough course with nearly 4000m of vertical ascent over 79km. 
Torrential rain the day before the race and talk of snow at the top of the mountains was familar - we were faced with the same weather conditions last year! I don't mind the rain, but I really don't like to be cold and with such long descents it's difficult to be anything but cold when it's raining. I prepared myself mentally for a wet, cold race. However, amazingly and despite the weather forecast I woke up to see the sun rising above the mountains. Wahoo :)

With Ericka Dicht (Switzerland) on the start line I knew that I would have to have very good climbing legs - Ericka climbs like she has helium in her tyres and for her, the steeper, the better! I had a good start and I had about a 2 minute lead over Ericka at the bottom of the first long climb. After 40km and just before reaching the Greitspitz Ericka floated past me, clearly unaffected by the gradient and the altitude.

I thoroughly enjoyed the decent into Switzerland, especially the Salaaser Kopf singletrails :) On the second long climb up to Palinkopf at 2800m the altitude seemed to pull the plug on my power. I took the time to take in the amazing scenery in these stunning mountains. I feel very lucky to be able to ride my bike in such beautiful places, especially in the sunshine :) As I arrived at the finish line, so did the rain - the weather gods had clearly been on my side ;)

1st Ericka Dicht (Swi)
2nd Sally Bigham
3rd Bianca Purath (Ger)

Full results can be found here

Congratulations to Alban Lakata who won the race and also to Robert Mennen who finished in 6th. Another successful day for Topeak Ergon Racing Team :D 

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