Final of SKS-Rohloff-MTB-North Hesse Cup in Zierenberg/Germany
Race report Daniela Bargholt:
After Kellerwald in April and Bielstein in May 2011 the last race of the cup began in Zierenberg the weekend before.
Three years ago I participated in another race there - I remembered the track as bumpy with a great deal of gravel on the road. Straight out the start gate the course took a turn, starting a 3km uphill climb before changing into a bumpy track alongside the freeway. I gave this piece of information to Bonne, allowing himself to adjust mentally for the challenges that lay ahead - whilst simultaneously nurturing his bruised ribs. The day before the race we arrived relaxed in Kassel, had dinner in an Italian restaurant with lava salt and fantastic oils to replenish our energy reserves in preparation for the race ahead. It was said to be hot tomorrow.
We had to ride the 53km lap to get into the overall standings of the SKS-Rohloff-Cup. Thanks to our Rohloff gear-hubs we had the chance to gain a good placing in both the special ranking for Rohloff riders as well as in the regular class.
Start was scheduled for Sunday at 9:20am and as time slowly ran out, over 450 participants had gathered and we had finally decided which stage to compete in - we took the middle distance stage. Each stage had a separate starting time which proved very good and the weather was warm although dark clouds were announcing rain or even thunder storm on the horizon.
After the regular jockeying for positions directly following the start, there were hardly any squeezing from the first ascent to the freeway track - which proved to be 7km long ending at a tower. On the way there were many singletrails which were full of roots and stones. You could tell immediately all the racing cyclists, who indeed were in front on the broad asphalt roads, but facing obstacles like a little root they would just topple over! On my part, I just could not pass the stronger athletes, so I settled for a place amongst them, hoping to find some good partners for individual challenges.
Muddy and tired I crossed the finishing line after 2:44h, where I immediately received my print-out in hand. It said I gained second place! I knew I took the lead in the Rohloff standings, but second place in the overall standings meant second place in the whole series of the Cup! With Bonnekessel it was similar, so we were able to experience an epic award ceremony, where each one of us was on the podium a total of four times!
Satisfied and exhausted we drove back to the beautiful Westerwald. Altogether it was a glorious day!