Ultracycling is a lifestyle in which cycling determines everyday life, but it is about more than just cycling. It's about organizing projects, winning sponsors, putting teams together, inspiring people, persevering and much more. Basically, cycling is in the foreground in the media, but if you want to achieve something in ultracycling, you can't wait to be discovered as a talent some days. Cycling is like modern gladiatorialism. It's like a circus. The problems of athletes are luxury problems.
This movie tells the story of the young extreme cyclist Fritz Geers. It explains the ups and downs of a young cycling career, shows pictures of ultracycling races across Europe and contains some quotes that cycling writes. One of them is: "The experiences we have gained over the years are the stones on which we build our life's work."
Fritz Geers wins the German championship title in 24h solo mountain biking in 2016 and set the record for the youngest finisher at the 14,500 vertical meters race across the Alps. He is going through a difficult time when things are not going well in terms of sport. Then the team around the young extreme athlete finds new ways and the Race across Germany is about laying the foundation for the next step in the sports career.
Race across Germany 2017
What moves and motivates people in life, fighting against many obstacles, to fight again and again for the achievement of goals? In ultracycling they say that those who stand still in life and on the bike fall over. Don't fall over - that was what it was all about for almost a year before the Race across Germany. Races were canceled, projects were not completed successfully and phases of illness, canceled sponsorships and shaky support in many areas demanded focus, courage and motivation to keep going. In retrospect, it was a tough time, but there was always faith, consistency and perseverance. The hard work, all the training and the courage invested have paid off.
On Thursday, June 29th, the concept for the project was ready and available, like a Swiss clockwork whose hundreds of individual parts have been optimized for years and was invested. The journey to Flensburg began as if it were just starting to work. The weather was worse than expected, the schedule was not adhered to and the mood was still at its lowest point in the following days. Nevertheless, none of them were worried, because confidence, calm and patience were the words the team was sworn by. Even if it was a young, inexperienced and cautious team, it stuck to the concept and it was very well thought out, developed for a long time and conveyed precisely.
The way to the start on Friday morning at 08:26 happened in the Continuous rain, but almost smoothly and knowing full well that those who are bothered by rain would not get far. 30 starters started, not a single one was given serious attention, but everybody good luck and perseverance when they meet. The third liquid food came up from the stomach together with a burst of bile in racing hour two and disappeared somewhere in such a way that no one could notice, because the team did not show any mishaps.
The team did not even know how well it had already done its job and so the search for optimization was continued until it was found. Up to the edge of the Harz it went almost non-stop. The at times heavy traffic, rain and wind did nothing to change that. At Gifhorn, the first night started with a heavy rain front, above-average poor roads and switched on lupine lamps. No attention was paid to the wind, rain and the approaching cold. The team had everything under control, so that even the failure of supervisor Pauline on the bike was not even noticed, a first low level of fatigue was simply resolved and km 500 was reached at Marke.
There at two o'clock in the night some people eagerly reading the live ticker stood on the roadside and cheered on the ascent at home. The team was happy about mild gifts such as warm sausages, coffee and chocolate rolls. As planned, supervisor Marieke left the support vehicle in order to be able to write well-rested exams at the university. Pauline's exit remained unplanned and uncommunicated, so that only three of the team stepped forward through the many small, steep climbs of the Eichsfeld.
Late at night, the first 30-second power nap had to be found in retrospect like a pipe sparrow got excited because sleep felt like 40 seconds. The team compensated for the misstead with the first use of Ballermann music, so that the longer climbs on the second morning were celebrated. The team clothing from Protective also protected everyone on the second day from a lot of rain, little sun and again a lot of wind.
In the morning it was tougher because knee problems were announced and the route profile had the most vertical meters here. The pain in the knee was then almost unbearable. The team asked for painkillers, the painkillers packaged by Maik W. were ready and a difficult decision had to be made. Painkillers, Yes or No or Abort? The decision was made against painkillers, because every athlete should ask himself where doping starts at such moments: Doping starts with a painkiller and so a simple ointment on the knee had to make the head believe that it would be better.
Step by step it was slower, but without rest and calm, continued at a consistent pace over climbs near Kassel into Bavaria. Exercise works without pain medication. Despite the tough conditions and the first problems, 628 kilometers were covered within the first 24 hours and it stopped raining around noon. If it didn't rain, it went uphill, it went downhill, there was now a very strong headwind, it became increasingly flat again, it went on for several hours on a busy main road against the wind. The skull boomed and hallucinated ghost drivers. The hardest part of the whole race. Quiet and a clear head needed. A clear head and calm were needed. One two three four. Where am I? Cars everywhere, cursing luxury cars, honking heavy goods vehicles.
It had to go on, because a great team had to be supplemented by a wise, well rested, old friend at km 775. The first tears flowed before Kitzingen, because the reunion was almost reached. Artjom was standing ready at the edge of the track, traveled by train, with a shopping for the team in his luggage and not much more. The time for a little battle speech was allowed and everything went smoothly again. Artjom quickly found the team and the support vehicle, which was already partying, drove into the evening almost exclusively with music, the side door open and laughter.
Artjom had brought wind from the right rear side with him, Maik W. on his running shoes attracted to the climbs, Henning, who had been looking after radio, camera and more at the same time for umpteen hours, could finally sleep and Maik C. just laughed. Precise changes were made between the wheels where necessary. Every hour construction sites were crossed with the bike and driven around by the support vehicle.
With 'light on the bike, light on the bike - dynamo' the second night started, which had to be tough again. From midnight onwards, the tiredness hit to the fullest and was fought off again and again. Shortly afterwards severe knee problems followed again. The food could only be consumed while standing. After every short stop, the right leg had to be lifted over the bike by a supervisor. The first steps were painful, the cold dragged into the night, it began to rain again and often went up steeply. Here, in the middle of the night with severe pain on the bike, the way to the destination was no longer that long and yet the arrival time shifted back hour by hour. The knee braked.
The CEECOACH Funk created a great atmosphere, despite the problems. A real gift in this moment. The night turned back to day and the mileage said 90 kilometers to the destination. A fall was hallucinated, the head hit the asphalt hard in thought. Standing by the roadside everything was black and dark. The supervisors decided that the first long five-minute power nap was unavoidable. When I woke up again, there was no orientation, the supervisors were no longer recognized and the task for the brain was now apparently to put up signs on the roadside, to check park benches and to empty trash cans that weren't there. A brief moment of clarity gave the information to the supervisors to remind them every two minutes that they are going to Garmisch-Patenkirchen by bike. The wheel rolled, but in my mind somewhere on a cycle path on the Baltic coast.
There were still 48 kilometers to the destination and suddenly the head had returned to the same reality in which the body had been moving for almost two days . The race went well, it was raining but not cold, the team was recognized and we were able to go fully focused towards the finish line. The team celebrated like they had won 100 million in the lottery. The knee was still sore and the forces were exhausted, but Garmisch-Patenkirchen was reached. Like a general, Artjom ordered that the place-name sign was not the destination and driven by the roar from the team vehicle, the bike continued to the Olympic hill in Garmisch-Patenkirchen.
There some people celebrated a fifth place overall, the total time of 49:38 hours and a really cool team. 1110 kilometers. Pus, blood and sweat were washed off in the truest sense of the word in the shower, then burgers were eaten and laughed as if there was nothing better in the world. The Race across Germany was and is a complete success. Of 30 starters, 16 had to finish the race, as one of the youngest, fifth place is a top position and in preparation for a really big project in summer 2017, things are going on positively!