As every year, Sankt Georgen in Attergau became the centre of the ultra-long distance cycling scene again this year. The Race Around Austria will host the first Austrian Championships in this discipline in 2018. Champions are determined both on the extreme distance (2200km – 30000m of elevation gain)in singles, doubles and quad events, as well as on the faster 560km course around Upper Austria, the so called “Challenge“. The Austrian topography with countless altitude meters, high Alpine passes and the unstable weather give the Race Around Austria the title of Europe’s toughest cycle race.
Team Chase started at the RAA Challenge with Felix Schneider and Bernhard Weis, after the participation in the 2016 (2nd) and 2017 (6th) team competition, now for the first time with solo starts on the big stage at the market place of Sankt Georgen. On Wednesday 15.08 they started at 17:05 in the race around Upper Austria. The time predictions were between 19 and 21 hours of racing. The multiple RAAM and RAA winner Christoph Strasser was also at the competition.
Team Chase at the RAA Challenge
The first quarter clockwise along the borders of the province was marked by few climbs, but all the faster country roads and even some tailwind. The time trial specialists were able to set the pace here. With the new Chase Me aero wheel and the Chase AeroPerformanceSystem cockpit, Felix was able to keep an average of 37.5 km/h up to 160 km of the race, just before the Danube bridge near Niederranna, and thus the second place.
The following section through the Mühlviertel held a considerable amount of altitude meters ready and went from hill to hill over crests and valleys. Rollers made up for time here. This strenuous section extends into the night until Freitstadt.
Mental Strength – From Freistadt, a high degree of concentration and resistance to emerging fatigue is required. The route offers hardly any variety, the night is dark and the energy level after 340km with an average of 32 km/h (after 11 hours) has dropped significantly. Here it was also where the support team had to act at short notice. Felix became suddenly tired and could not keep the track despite high speed – a dangerous game. A treatment break of about 8 minutes by the phyiostherapist brought momentum back into the last kilometres of the approach to the Hengstpass.
The race entered its final phase. With 140km to-go the Hengstpass stands in the way of the starters, not an unsolvable task, since the road does not rise above 7%. But exactly here it was the duty to be able to make up for the lost positions by the forced break. Only a few minutes separated the places 3 to 8, the RAA Challenge is an individual time trial, which is always exciting to follow due to the small time intervals. After the first flat kilometres at the base of the Hengstpass, Felix changed to his Rams Cycling road bike with the mountain-suited Chase Up wheels. With 250 watts it went towards the sun, up to the summit. In the meantime, the night regulation, which according to the regulations lasts until 6:30 a.m., was abandoned. In this increase alone, the team was able to drive two places well thanks to the perfect use of the material and mobilisation of the reserves. Starting situation after the Hengstpass: 6th place.
Race Around Austria Challenge – Chase – Foto: Peter Maurer
Arrived at the top the descent was tackled with the time bike. The following flat piece by Windischgarsten Felix unwound in the usual aero-position. Unfortunately, a rail crossing at Steinbach am Ziehberg stopped the rapid race to catch up. The collected experience of the last years let the supervisor crew react quickly and they postponed the change to the racing bike by 1 km, got rid of the superfluous nightwear and provided the athlete with necessary food and drink. The loss of time was limited to about 2 minutes. In the same rhythm Felix attacked the upcoming Ziehberg, again followed by a fast descent on the time bike. Now there was only one ascent to Gmunden, short and up to 12% steep. With gels, caffeine and all available reserves Felix fought his way up the ramps towards Attersee. Ranking after the last obstacle with 270W cut: 4th place.
Arrived at the summit the usual scenario: Changing to the time bike to hide deep in the aeroposition. The distance to 5th place had to be kept constant, not to take any risks on the last 30 kilometres past Mondsee, heading for the starting and finishing place Sankt Georgen in Attergau.
The last painful waves were attacked with euphoria and the incessant cheers of the crew from the support vehicle.
Race Around Austria Solo Challenge 2018 – Ziel – Foto: Peter Maurer
The town sign marked the finish: At 11:26, after 18 hours 20 minutes with an average of 30.7 km/h Felix finished 4th at the first Austrian Ultra Long Distance Championships. Click here for the results.
/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/handcrafted-01-vergrößert-280x300.png00Felix Schneider/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/handcrafted-01-vergrößert-280x300.pngFelix Schneider2018-08-16 13:49:402018-08-21 10:29:13Race Around Austria Solo Challenge