With a solo start at the German Championships in 24-hour mountain biking, the first really important competition is coming up in 2016. There is a lot of equipment that will also be used at the Race Across the Alps at the end of June. Among other things, the exclusive nutrition via liquid food should be tested, filming in the supervisory team should be trained and good communication with the supervisory team should be honed. As expected, the tension is great, because 24 hours on the mountain bike are long, a German championship is seldom held without strong competition and expectations are high. Nevertheless, the personal goal is not a good position in the list of results, but a solid overall performance made of fun in the team, a good film and uninterrupted driving flow.
Before the evening, after all, you had changed leadership roles several times with your opponent. Each time you shake hands briefly and give a few words of encouragement. In second place on this race night before the aforementioned performance drops, the opponents can no longer count on the big title and the fear of another low level of fatigue is great. Uninterrupted caffeine supply relentlessly pushes out of a hole at midnight that calls for a 30 second power nap. Only a few minutes earlier, a lap on a long straight in the ditch ended and there was great despair. Much earlier than expected, the night turned into a big opponent, which also pulled the support team down. At one of the three short stops of the race, the light is added in a flash in the evening and words like 'it looks good' are spoken. The thought 'you look bad' is noticeable in the undertone, but the motivation is great enough to mentally withstand it.
Wherever possible, strong microsleep and hallucinations have to be fought at night. When the dike is steeply up and downhill without great technical demands, clean work for the head is required. Where you can only walk across a mowed meadow, your hands, joints and buttocks hurt so much that you would like to push. While the sun is rising, the care team does a perfect job. At the same time, the light is broken down in a matter of seconds, the glasses are exchanged for the day and the chain is freshly oiled. Round after round the right food and the right drink are served so that you can continue driving without stopping. Mentally, the night is a game of patience that you shouldn't lose, because they say that whoever is ahead at night will also be ahead in the end.
Not only does the sun shine strongly, but also the opponents, who could only be pushed for a few minutes at the end of the night after a drop in performance. All of this over 24 hours, which is a long time. The driving style requires a lot of concentration even in the morning hours, the driving style a lot of constancy and the psyche a lot of strength. The route is certainly not a typical mountain bike route, but typical for a 24 hour race. After many hours it hurts so much that every passage that seemed easy the first time it was driven down is suddenly difficult.
The exhaustion is great, as is the joy. The tears almost come when the iron trophy for the title of German champion in the 24-hour solo mountain bike is presented. It was a fair competition with very fair participants. Wrapped in a millimeter thick layer of dust, you hug each other before the award ceremony and congratulate the other on their great performance. That is much more important than any television interview or statement about the over 508 kilometers driven. Shortly before that, the last of our strengths had been squandered in subterranean slow lap times in the heat that had been prevalent for a day on the 12 kilometer lap around the Alfsee near Osnabrück.