As in every year for the last 5 or so, I went and participated in the Munich City Bike Marathon. It’s always my first race of the season and even though I usually end the race wondering why in the world I go, come January of each year I start chomping at the bit to sign up again.
“Normally” (there’s nothing normal about this race), it’s in the 90 km range and it only has 120 vertical meters or so of climbing but this years due to tree work and an event following the race they shortened the course by 25 km down to 65 km. Well, that is until it started raining anyway.
The race starts and ends at the Munich Olympic Park and the last 5 km or so are run inside the park grounds. Some of that, mostly climbing and descending is done on cobblestones. If you’ve never ridden cobblestones, you should. They’re bumpy as hell and when wet, you might as well be on ice, especially if there’s any hint of mud in the county. In any case, they knocked off another 3.5 km because of the rain. Therefore, the race ended up being 61 km and change. Also, they not only shortened the race but they moved the start to 7:15 in the morning. Ugh. Nothing like having to get up at 5:00 and try to get to a race which starts early but to also start without a warmup and to have it raining…. needless to say, it didn’t start well.
Unfortunately for me, I could have used the extra 30 km this year. I’ve been training for the Tour Divide Race so I’ve got a lot of miles in my legs for 2012. In face, I checked today and I’ve already hit 1600 km (not counting the 2-4 times a week we hit spin class in the Winter too) for 2012. Anyway, the distance wasn’t the problem by any means.
The race starts with a “neutral” start which takes the racers across town to the Isar River. It’s really anything but neutral as most people are already jockeying for position to keep from getting stuck behind the slow riders. I got stuck behind a bunch of the riders from the 2nd start and ended up one of the last to leave from my group. I made it to the river, and about 2 km up the river before the motorcycles from the 2nd start group caught and passed me.
I spent the rest of the race pretty much riding alone. For the next 25 km I felt terrible. My heart rate was all over the place and my stomach and legs were anything but happy. It wasn’t until we hit the mid-point of the race by the Alliance Arena (where Bayern München plays soccer) that I started to feel civil again. Suddenly, I started to feel like I had some power in my legs and felt semi-civil again. Coincidentally, that’s about the same time that a lot of the people that had passed me previously started to slow down. I started passing people left and right from there to the finish. Like I said… I wish that I’d had the extra kilometers as I’d have probably managed a much better finish than I had.
This year was the first year that the weather has ever been anything but nice. It was probably part of my early issues both because of being chilly at the start with no warm up but also because I had to wear a rain jacket which then cause me to overheat a bit (for me, that’s usually worse than the cold). In the end I finished 25th in my class at 2:10:04. The winner of my class finished almost a half an hour ahead of of me and he’s 8 years older (58 years old!).
I thought that Kera did well, mostly because she said that she had a good time. Being so competitive she’s not so please with her finish. She placed 13th in her class at 2:21:31.
More photos here….