Swiss Epic: final stage to Zermatt
The race is done and we arrived in Zermatt in bright sunshine and had spectacular views to the Matterhorn during this last stage.
Unfortunately we were not able to repeat last years glory, when we finished on the podium with 2nd overall in the Flow category. In the overall ranking, we finished fifth and today we lost a lot more time to our competitors, finishing this fabulous stage on place 11.
While there was still a little hope for Andrea’s recovery after yesterdays’s long stage, it quickly turned out to be wishful thinking.
Directly from the start line, team AMB Mag attacked in the first climb trying to make up some time. And while I could easily follow, I had to wait for Andrea who again could not breathe properly and had pain in his chest. We even could not manage to control the other team which had their best day yesterday – Bikeschule Olten. In this first “warm-up” climb we had to bury our podium hopes.
Nevertheless, the trails were just extraordinary. I can hardly describe which trails we have been riding, all week long. And which adventure this whole race is, for every participant. There is such a big variety of trails, some more technical, rough and wet, others with perfect flow. Singletracks that just make the riders happy! You will keep memories of these great landscape and mountain trails for a long time.
And to make that happen, riding in the middle of the Flow field, I had to push sometimes a bit more on the gas to make sure to enter the singletracks ahead of the bigger groups, who often struggled with the terrain.
After the first endless trail section, we were heading to the shuttle bus along the valley towards Täsch. There, we took the shuttle bus to Zermatt. Arriving in Zermatt, the sky was clear and the sun and Matterhorn greeted us!
So we took the Sunnegga bahn – fastest vertical climbing we have ever done, then the gondola to Blauherd, 2576m on my Garmin! Some more pictures of the Matterhorn and down we go.
We had a flat tire during the alpine descent that had many super sharp water drainage stones. You had to clear those by bunnyhopping – Andrea was taken out pretty soon by one of these sharp stones. It took 2 attempts with rubber stripes that couldn’t hold the air and finally with a tube and 3 CO-2 cartridges we got going again.
Soon after at that spot, 3 or 4 other teams where standing fixing tires. Ok, so we kept descending, then joining the Epic teams and while going up and down in direction Zermatt and closer to the finish line, about 2km from the finish the tube was punctured again on Andrea’s rear tire. The only compensation to me were those absolutely fantastic trails and scenery.
At the end, we were happy to have arrived in Zermatt in one piece, no huge crashes and also being lucky on the weather side. This event can only be recommended to mountainbikers, but you have to be fit, also in the Flow category.
And you have to work on your technical skills, otherwise you are not going to have fun on the trails.
Thanks for reading our diary and see you on the trails!