YEAH! Bike Attack is my new favorite event! It’s on my for-sure list for next year and I’ll tell you why. The Trek Bike Attack is a 20km enduro downhill race with 2000 meters of descending and 140 meters of climbing. Starting at 2861 mtr at the Rothorn and arriving at Churwalden at 1240 mtr.
On Saturday is a qualifying race, the result places you in the grid for the race on Sunday. If you don’t qualify (eighter not participate or not finish) you have to start from sector 0, with about 600 people in front of you. Oh, and the qualifier finishes at the ‘tallstation’ of the Rothornbahn (1500 mtr) and is about 8km’s long.
Goodbye, my beloved Conti’s
My friend and I did a few training runs in the morning before having to qualify in the afternoon. Ilja had a total of 4 flats during these training-runs and I felt blessed I was spared the inconvenience. But oh… I should have known better…
Ilja bought brand spanking new Nokian DH type tyres, because the Mountain Kings weren’t keeping up with the pace. The Nokians kept perfectly btw! He finished the qualifier in 26 minutes and placed himself in the 6th sector on the grid.
My qualifying race was terrible! All the flat’s Ilja suffered that morning, I had to catch up on in the race… unfortunately. I had 2 inners with me, but a 3rd flat was enough to prevent me from finishing. I walked back to the middle station and took the lift down. There I also bought new Nokians, only to discover I had shredded my beloved Mountain Kings to pieces… If I had listened to myself (in the review I stated: “not suitable for downhill”) and or checked the tires for wear and tear before the qualifier, I might have found myself in a better sector. I now had to close the line in the final sector. But yeah… I wasn’t there to win, or was I. I was stoked for Sunday though. Race day here we come!
Like the Megavalanche, the Trek Bike Attack is well organised and racers are invited on top of the Rothorn in stages. They all kept to the schedule and the mountain was filled well in time. This meant however having to wait a long long time. We took the post-bus to Rothornbahn and arrived at the middle station around 9:30. Way too early, so we chilled in the alpine meadow and arrived at the Rothorngiphel around 11:00. Again, way to early, because the race starts at 13:00 so we just bored and waited and waited.
12:45 all racers reported in the right sectors and after the briefing the starting-signal sounded promptly at 13:00. The poor sods in sector 7 took the time to see Wildhaber sprint away and disappear before we even took one step forwards. Finally there was movement in the crowd and we slowly moved foreward. We actually had to walk as far as the tiny bit of snow we had to cross and what I noticed that the spirit was “gemütlich”. No elbows, no shouting and most people smiling and making fun of the situation: having to walk down the hill. Past the snow we could get some pedal-strokes in, but had to get back in line on the next singletracks.
Arriving at ‘the gallery’ I could seriously get into gear (praise the “Joplin”) and I actually got competitive passing people and not being to polite about it. I found that being polite doesn’t get you anywhere. They eighter don’t hear you or don’t care and in the worst case care a lot of being passed by a woman. So I continued shouting “left!!!” and was on my way. You would find ‘traffic’ at every ‘technical’ piece or singletrack, the biggest traffic jam was is the nice rocky singletrail near the middle station. It was going really well until there, I passed quite a few people and even caught up with my friend Ilja. We walked the singletrail together and moved on separately from there. He eventually crashed and lost an contact lens, having to continue with one lens.
I made it past the middlestation at about 25 minutes, which got me stoked even more. Rushed through the very nice berms towards the ‘tallstation’ and discovering what 140 mtr of climbing actually feld like… like blowing up!
140 mtr uphill is nasty!
It was hot, bloody hot. Did I say the forecast was awful? Couldn’t have been more wrong, sun sun sun and about 30º walking up because you blew yourself up in the first half. But I didn’t care, this first half is the most fun you could have on a bike and I was very happy with my riding there (and the Nokians did splendidly, not as grippy as the Mountain Kings, but perfectly grounded the Remedy with their excessive weight).
I took my time in the climbs, trying to recover and save some energy for the final km’s downhill. The second half has a few km’s through the woods, with roots and singletrail, and ends with a very nice steep downhill. I gave the Remedy full control and it rushed down like a maniac. With it’s owner smiling like a maniac. Pushed the final km on the pedals towards the finish and crossed the line 29th in the women’s-class at 1.13 hrs.
Give me more!
Giving the fact I started at the end of the line, this made me feel like a million bucks. I passed a fair amount of people, and finished in a decent time if you ask me. Next time I’m back with a hunger to finish the qually in say 30 to 25 minutes and having to start in a proper sector on the grid. Yes, I am competitive, but just as long as my passion for riding goes. I want to do as well as I am capable of, and I have a strong feeling there is room for improvement.
The Trek Bike Attack is less technical then the Megavalanche, but way more challenging then the PPdS. It’s more a downhilltrack like the qually-track off the Megavalanche is. The top 8km’s are fast, soooooooo fast!! And soooo much fun. But it’s no wonder the Mountain Kings got shredded there, the wonder was they lasted as long as they did.
The Remedy however feld right at home, even in the fast and rocky parts. It didn’t feel too ‘small’ or inadequate in any way. It’s the perfect bike for the Bike Attack, and the perfect bike for me. Only the Juicy 5’s did meet their limit and Elixirs are on their way.
Oh, the funniest thing. Our first names are printed on our number plates, very cool for the nice people who are watching to cheer you on by name. Especially when they think it says “Tina”.
(ps. Hi Bella!)