Tag Archives: cycling

24h MTB European Champion on a diet

One week before the European Championships I took part in a charity campaign for multiple sclerosis sufferers. The goal was to collect as many vertical meters and thus also money for the Nathalie-Todendöfer-Foundation within 12 hours. Actually not the best preparation for an important race one would think. But I got to know incredible people with touching life stories, who have an enormous will to live (and survive). Cycling means living for them. Since I was still the World Champion in the Masters class, I was at the start with my World Champion jersey and many MS sufferers told me that it is motivating for them to be allowed to ride with me. It was exactly these great people who deeply impressed me and gave me the necessary motivation for the European Championships. So I was determined to give my all for these personalities at the European Championships.

Optimized training, structured nutrition, highly motivated and tuned the bike, I travelled to Dießen am Ammersee with my support team one day before the race. It had rained for half a day and it was already certain that it would be a mud battle because the soil in the forest and on the meadows would probably not dry so quickly. For time and weather reasons, we refrained from a track inspection.

I was floating over the track in the first laps and no solo starter could follow me.

The alarm clock rang at 4am and it was just too early to get up. With small eyes, I tortured myself out of the bed. Breakfast, set bikes and off for the race.

When we got there, our pavilion was gone. The entire area was closed and not a single team was there. Sascha Straus, a befriended cyclist, came running towards me. “The area is closed. We took down your tent yesterday and put it back up there.” He pointed to our pavilion that was now located in the paddock but at a descent. Not perfect for catering during the race, but at least it was directly on the track. That is the beauty of us “extreme riders”. You help each other and it’s more about friendship than about rivalry. Unfortunately, this is far too rare in sport.

After the shock with the pavilion, there came immediately the next one. My girlfriend was furious because I had bought too little and the wrong drink and had much too little to eat. “You want to race a 12-hour race on carbonated mineral water? You only have three bars with you and there’s only a sip left in the iso bottle. That’s never enough. You’re gonna die like a raisin!” I knew she was right. But I had to counter somehow. “I brought homemade bars, five jelly babies and homemade gel. It’ll be all right.” Don’t panic was my motto. It was now 7:30 am, another 30 minutes until the start and the sun was already burning down from the sky. It promised to be a hot day and I really had to keep up with the few calories I had packed.

Refuelling, no matter whether it’s carbs, electrolytes, or simply water, is one of the key factors to success in any endurance sport.

The starting shot was fired, 68 individual starters and a total of 99 teams whipped off. I tried to put a lot of pressure at the beginning because I knew that you couldn’t keep up the pace in the scorching midday sun. Especially if you didn’t have enough food like me. So I mingled with the teams of six and four. But right from the beginning they set a good pace and my pulse was above the 170 mark several times during the first lap. As expected it was still really wet in the forest sections and on the meadows. It took a lot of energy, but everybody had to go through it.

Maximal concentration in full speed action.

After three hours of racing and an average heart rate of 155, I had already gained a considerable lead. So I slowed down a bit because I knew that the heat would come. In the forest it was still reasonably pleasant, but in the transition area and in the team area, which were below the mountain, the air was stagnant. I called this place “Death Valley”. I was very happy that I didn’t ride the race with my world champion jersey. On the one hand, I was a bit embarrassed but on the other hand, I could fall back on all advantages of my cooling jersey from X-Bionic.

The atmosphere cycling through the lush forests is remarkable. Not to forget about the much appreciated shade!

Meanwhile, the pulse levelled at 140 beats per minute and the lap times also became slower and slower. I received the information from another driver that a group of five had formed behind me, apparently working together. But it turned out that there was a good minute between my pursuers. So the race was really on and a gruelling race arose.

This is how it’s done!

My very economical diet was now also a problem for me, but I knew that this was now a tactically decisive point of the race. I pushed the pace and put quickly anther 5 minutes advantage on my competitors. However, after eight hours of driving, not only my stomach felt empty, but also my legs. The dry, hot air and the thrifty diet made me feel more and more uncomfortable and I slowed down. Even though I slowed down, I still increased my lead. Everybody was suffering from the conditions.

The last few hours have been a crucial test for the head. The legs did their job, but the mind kept screaming “stop”. Though, encouragement from the reigning 24-hour world record holder Slim Gamh-Drid, helped a lot. The last two hours, I didn’t minimized the risk and slowed down. I talked to the marshals and my comrades on the track. I tried to give back what they gave me before. Encouragement. Even even gave my last gummy bear to a participant who apparently really needed it. Before the last lap I even had enough time to put on the world champion jersey for the finish.

Taking in the atmosphere and cheers from the incredible crowd in my last lap.

The numbers to win the MTB 12-hour European Championships in the solo category: 264 kilometres with 4,600m elevation and 5,000 calories.

Your,
Kai

It feels surreal to be on top of the podium.

Three punctures to victory

Finale Ligure – The world’s toughest 24h MTB race

For the 20th anniversary, the organizers came up with a special format. Different from the last few years, when the competitions for individual starters and teams of two took place one day before the faster teams of four, eight and twelve, everyone started together this year again. Due to the higher number of athletes on the track, the overtaking processes and getting into a race rhythm was considerably more difficult.

This year the lap was the longest ever with almost 12 kilometres and an altitude difference of approx. 550 metres. Especially for single starters, this was a big disadvantage because catering was only possible in the transition area of the race and dehydration of the single starters was pre-programmed right from the start.

The goal is to have as few stops as possible and refuel the 15’000 burned calories on the bike.

In the preparation, I started some units at 3 o’clock in the morning to prepare myself optimally for the racing situation at night. I started with a super light bike and wanted to have an advantage on the up to 22% steep climbs. Since I always start with racing shoes and pedals, the power transmission is higher than with mountain bike shoes and you are also more firmly clicked into the pedal. However, running is a lot more difficult. To my disadvantage, the organisers decided to let us single drivers and teams of two start three hours before the other teams in the Le Mans starting procedure. This means, after the starting signal, we had to run about 800m to our bikes first before the actual mountain bike race would start for us.

Right from the start, I was able to put pressure on the front pack and kept up with the best teams of two. In a descent, however, I noticed that I had a flat rear tire and had to repair it. Accidentally, even my spare hose was defective and almost the entire rider field passed me. Fortunately, though, a German participant stopped and lent me his own spare hose. However, in the hurry, I had inflated the tyre too little and after a few kilometres on a steep, technical descent I had another flat tyre because I hit a stone with my rear wheel too hard. Being the last, I had to run three kilometres into the catering area and changed to my second bike while my care team repaired my bike.

From that point on I had a lot of catching up ahead of me because like every year in Finale Ligure, some of the best endurance mountain bikers in the world compete at this race and every meter has to be worked hard for. After two laps my actual racing machine was ready for use again and I was able to resume the ride properly. With temperatures around 28C and just a few shade-giving trees at the ascents, it seemed as the sun would literally suck the energy out of the body. After three hours of racing, I already got the first cramps in my legs, which indicated a dehydration. Some of my comrades-in-arms even had signs of a heatstroke at that time and the heat also left its mark on me. The cramps should get worse in the next few hours.

This hill challenged me 25 times!

After four hours, I had a more serious fall a blind bend and crashed into the bushes. I tried to rinse the little wounds at elbows and knees provisionally with water and after a short check of the body, I decided to continue racing. A short time later, however, I noticed that I had unfortunately lost my sports watch in the crash. Now, I no longer had an overview of which hour of the race I was in, how my heart rate is or how many calories I burned. It was all about my experience and how well I know my body from now on. To not risk too much, I slowed down a bit after the crash.I had already been able to work my way into the top 10 within the short time and, simultaneously, some of the favourites also had to quit the race. The multiple winner Rudolf Springer from Austria had to finish the race before nightfall as well.

After almost nine race hours, I took a short break to pee. The first one. My team used this time to attach the lamps for the night session to my bike and helmet. The night is always a bit riskier at this race compared to other 24-hour races, because the track demands full concentration all the time. Especially the sections at the cliffs do not forgive any mistake. I knew that 24h races would be decided at night and that’s when I could make up a lot of ground on my competitors in front of me. An advantage over my competitors was also my gear. During the night it got rather chilly and whereas the others had to stop to change or put on jackets, I simply kept on riding in my X-BIONIC gear. Trust me, it keeps you performing under all conditions!

Riding right next to the cliffs was a bit thrilling during the night.

In the morning at five o’clock, the sun rose again and throughout the night I was able to claim the second place. However, I was aware that the last four hours are always the toughest of the race. You’ve been in the saddle for 20 hours and you think almost made it, but there are still four hours to go before the finish. Yet, this remaining time alone is usually longer than a normal bike tour. Four hours at this point of the race is a lot. A lot to make up or also lose positions.

As expected, the last hours were once again gruelling. Why do I keep on doing this to myself? In the meanwhile, I had cramps all over my body – in my legs, arms, fingers and even my tongue. The body was maltreated. Since last year. I have been working for and with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) sufferers and could now imagine for the first time how such a boost with cramps must feel like. It was no different for the competition and the leading Frenchman even had to give up the race a few hours before the end. I was now in first place and could actually put a lap between myself and my pursuers. By the end of the race, I even managed to increase the gap to two laps.

Over the moon, after a whole day and a whole night in the saddle, I reached the finish line of the biggest and toughest 24-hour MTB race in the world. In the first position! Victory!

Without the support of my family and friends, no matter on or off the track, this great achievement would not have been possible. I’m really thankful for how everyone helped me to achieve this success.

Yours,
Kai

“Do what you love and do it with a smile”

Danny Vogel participated at the Joberg2c, a 9-day mountain bike adventure. The 36-year old sports nut, from Mainz in Germany, told us about his project in late January 2016, to participate at this big race. Hence, he was looking for high-tech bike wear.
Danny is not a professional cyclist, he just wanted to achieve his personal goal! To spice up the entire challenge he decided to compete with a single-speed bike. His objective was to show that it is possible to achieve something great, even with simple means. Considering the South African trails it was definitely a tough target.

The Joberg2c consist to 99.5% of off-road paths – on rarely used or yet even unused trails! The riders are covering 900km and 13’000m of altitude difference on their way from the start in the south of Johannesburg to the finish at the KwaZulu-Natal coast!
His idea to start at this tough mountain bike race just with a single-speed bike sounded adventurous to us and it was the perfect occasion to test our new X-BIONIC® TWYCE collection!

Day one - Karan Beef (Heidelberg) to Frankfort Sports Grounds

Joberg2c_Day1The first stage led from Heidelberg to the Frankfort Sports Grounds.
Danny had to accustom himself to the single-speed first. Therefore, it was challenging at the beginning. It took him 5 hours and 15 minutes for the 116km. His mantra “Do what you love and do it with a smile” helped him through the tough sections.

Facts
Distance: 116km
Descent: 867m
Ascent: 855m

Day two - Frankfort School to Reitz Showgrounds

Joberg2c_day2.1It is more than 93km and about 1000m of elevation from Frankfort to Reitz through the eastern part of Freestate. Here, you’re still riding through South Africa’s granary. On these endless straight paths between enormous corn fields, you can get an idea of the country’s infinite wideness. The inhabitant’s warmth is perceptible along the way and you always feel welcome.
Unfortunately, the first two days of the Joberg2c on the single speed are rather tough for me as it is very flat and I just have to find a good rhythm pedalling quickly to ride, at least, reasonable fast. But day 3 should promise a hilly stage profile and on day 4 we’ll face the real mountains.

Facts
Distance: 93km
Ascent: 1001m
Descent: 916m

Day three - Reitz to Sterkfontein Dam

Joberg2c_day3With 122km and roughly 1100m of elevation, day three was one of the longest days. We rode from Reitz to one of South Africa’s biggest freshwater dams, the Sterkfontein Dam.
The first 100km of the day are quite easy and fast through infinite fields and magnificent stream landscapes. With the ascent to the top of Mount Paul, the stage’s difficulty only started after about 115km. After already 5 hours in the saddle, this was a real challenge for every participant, no matter whether with gearshift or without. But, on the other hand, the reward was waiting at the top: a stunning view back to the dam and towards the finish! Despite sitting more than 6 hours on the bike, this was one of the most beautiful days for me.

Facts
Distance: 122km
Ascent: 1188m
Descent: 1082m

Day four - Sterkfontein Dam to Emseni
Created with oQey Gallery

At day 4 the Joberg2c participants started at the big water reserve “Sterkfontein Dam”. The stage started with a steep climb at the Kerkenberg. Later on, Danny drove through real African bush land enjoying the Serengeti single-tracks.
Arriving in Emseni he enjoyed a scenic view with the Drakensberg in the background!

Facts
Distance: 93km
Ascent: 1100km
Descent: 1706m

Day five - Emseni to Clifton Nottingham Road

Joberg2c_day5On day five the scenery changed significantly. So far, the temperatures have been warm and the landscape was mostly green and overgrown. Now Danny feels the mountain air. The thermometer only showed 13 degrees and rain was accompanying the riders throughout the majority of the stage. He really had to fight riding the trails on his single-speed. Children along the course gave him motivational boosts and mentally pushed him through the day.

Facts
Distance: 122 km
Ascent: roughly 2241m
Descent: roughly 1757m

Day six - Clifton – Nottingham Rd to Glencairn Farm – Sani Pass Road
Created with oQey Gallery

Day six was a very tough day!
The backcountry tracks and trails have never seen a rider before. They led through isolated regions, which are inhabited by Zulu people. These technical single-trails included as well the so-called “Gumtree climb”, which is the steepest climb at the Joberg2c. The stage contained everything: scenic landscape, breathtaking views, warm-hearted people and challenging trails. Danny recapped this remarkable day that “it is a real privilege to be able riding through this stunning landscape and experience the people in this region. Actually, it is priceless.”

Facts
Distance: 98km
Ascent: 2022m
Descent: 1997m

Day seven - Glencairn Farm – Sani Pass Road to Mackenzie Club
Created with oQey Gallery

Yeah – rest day for the participants of Joberg2c!
Of course, not really. But nevertheless it almost felt like one after the previous stages. It was an easy ride for Danny and the other participants, as the stage was just 82km long. The trails were especially prepared for the race. The highlight of the stage was the crossing of a floating bridge. That was fun!

Facts
Distance: 82km
Ascent: 914m
Descent: 1356m

Day eight - MacKenzie Club (Ixopo) to Jolivet (Highflats)
Created with oQey Gallery

Day seven was just the calm before the storm, though. Stage 8 was promising to be one of the most exhausting stages of the Joberg2c! 1,705m of altitude difference had to be climbed and the sun was blazing. After the brutal climb, the riders dropped down 35km into the scenic Umkomas Valley. This scenic downhill section was followed by another tough climb for about 65km.
This stage was very challenging for Danny and he fought through agony. But the experiences and views along the course were compensating for all the struggle.

Facts
Distance: 99km
Ascent: 1705m
Descent: 2163m

Day nine - Jolivet (Highflats) to Scottburgh

Joberg2c_Day9It’s time to head to the coast! Compared to the previous days, it was an easy roll out. Nevertheless, with a lot of mountain bike trails. The day started with trails through sugar cane farms and ended with an exhilarating finish at Scottburgh Main Beach at the Indian Ocean. Here, at the finish line, families and supporters were already waiting for their riders.

Facts
Distance: 84km
Ascent: 854m
Descent: 1551m

Joberg2c – a really tough mtb race with a lot of up and downs but also a lot of fun and happiness – Congratulations, Danny!

But, How did Danny feel in our X-BIONIC® TWYCE Outfit?
Danny answers by himself:

The TWYCE series was perfect once again. Especially under this constant strain over nine days with various weather conditions. No matter, whether heat, dust, cold, mud or rain. In particular, the cushion of the pants as well as the perfect fit were highly satisfying and I never felt uncomfortable wearing the X-BIONIC® TWYCE. I was neither overheated nor cold. And I also realised that they’re odour neutral. Especially at stage races you have to wear the clothes twice as you can’t always wash them after each stage. The clothes had to endure the training in Mauritius, the extreme Cape Epic as well as nine tough days at the Joberg2c, but, nevertheless, everything still fits perfectly as before. Nothing is worn through or frayed and also, the stitching still looks like new. I’ve worn various cycling clothes in my past 15 years on the bike and the high-quality X-BIONIC® clothes are without a doubt the best and most unproblematic I’ve ever tried.

Shop Dannys Joberg2c TWYCE kit here -> www.x-bionic.com/twyce-running-and-biking

Speed freaks

Last month we met again some fans of X-BIONIC® at the Velodrome Swiss in Grenchen for another track cycling workshop. Like in our two previous events there, experienced guides showed us how to ride on a wooden indoor cycling track. Track cycling is a great alternate sport for the indoor season here in Europe when the streets are wet or frozen. The average temperature inside the Velodrome is always above 20 degrees.

Before the cycling fun started, our workshop guides introduced the basic steps of track cycling. Especially the bike without breaks and gears looked quite interesting.
Before the cycling fun started, our workshop guides introduced the basic steps of track cycling. Especially the bike without breaks and gears looked quite interesting.

For this event in Grenchen, we also invited a special guest: European Ultracycling Champion and Race around Ireland winner Bernhard Steinberger talked about his great experiences at the green island last year. He showed some impressive pictures and videos of his great success. You can read our race report and an interview with Bernhard here: LINK.

Bernhard explains the RAI course and how difficult it was to win this race.
Bernhard explains the RAI course and how difficult it was to win this race.

After the theoretical part, the workshop continued at the cycling track. Each participant received a test set and the prepared track bike for the ride. X-BIONIC® TWYCE, X-BIONIC® for Automobili Lamborghini and X-BIONIC® THE® TRICK bike wear were handed over for the test session.

Three colors, three technologies and one approach: getting the best performance on the bike.
Three colors, three technologies and one approach: giving you the best cycling performance!
Before the ride started, the guides explained us how to start and to stop with a track bike.
Before the ride started, our guides explained us how to start and to stop with a track bike.
Listen to the guide: ride a track bike safely.
Listen to the guide: how to ride a track bike safely.

After some laps, each participant enjoyed the fun and could increase his bike handling the more laps he rode. The most important thing about track cycling is to be attentive what happens before and behind you. On a track bike, you also need to ride a minimum speed of about 25 kph to get through the stiff turns and not to slip downwards. This is the first thing you learn when you ride a track bike.

Follow me: the closer you ride behind another cyclist, the less power you need.
Follow me: the closer you ride behind another cyclist, the less power you need.

The workshop lasted three hours at the track and everyone enjoyed it. Special thanks to our guide René and his mates, who did a great job again for a safe ride. If you want to ride on a cycling track, you need to attend the basic lessons before you can join public training sessions, you can find more information here.

We will return to the Velodrome this year, stay tuned!

As a cyclist, you need to get this experience at least once in a lifetime, you won't regret!
Happy cyclists: you need to get this experience at least once in a lifetime, you won’t regret!

RAI Champion 2015: Bernhard Steinberger

At the start of September, X-BIONIC athlete Bernhard Steinberger crowned his career with the European championship title in ultracycling: he won one of the most difficult solo marathon races in the world, the Race Around Ireland (RAI). The Upper Palatinate native needed fewer than 100 hours for the 2150-kilometre race, making it a new German record at the same time.

The pay-off for all the effort: Bernhard won the 2015 RAI and is European Champion at the same time!
The pay-off for all the effort: Bernhard won the 2015 RAI and is European Champion at the same time!

The RAI is among the hardest races in the ultracycling scene and, this year, was held for the seventh time. Participants cycle around the island non-stop – even breaks are counted against their overall time. So the top riders try to stop as little as possible, reducing sleep to a minimum. Bernhard only slept for 93 minutes in this year’s competition, bringing him to an early victory.

The ultracycling specialist tells us his experience of the race in the interview below – have fun reading it!

How did you feel after this extremely difficult race?

Einmal gegen den Uhrzeigersinn: Das RAI umrundet jährlich die wunderschöne Insel
Once around in an anti-clockwise direction: The RAI circles the breathtaking island once a year.

Very well. My head was right back in “racing fever” mode the following day. My body took a little longer. I finished my training unit on the fifth day after crossing the finish line. Now I’m back in casual training and I’m just enjoying movement again. And of course, new sports goals are spinning around in my head again.

What was the best/worst moment during your 100 hours of racing?

Apart from Ireland’s incredible landscape, the best part was my 8-person support team. They motivated me, cared for my symptoms, kept me in good spirits and were at my back every second of the race, and we had a lot of fun racing. Although some of them were new, everything went just as well as if they’d been doing it for ages.

Some of my “old” support crew had work or family obligations. After all, they do this on a volunteer basis. When I threw my arms around each of my support team at the finish line, that was a very moving moment, yes, WE rocked the island of Ireland! My team is the greatest part of my success! After more than four days, I could finally enjoy a Guinness at the finish line.

The most difficult moment in the race was 80 kilometres from the finish line, when I heard that I was so far ahead that it would be impossible for the second-place rider to overtake me. After that, the kilometres got very long, and it was hard to stay with it. It’s hard to motivate yourself again and to focus when the goal is so close and you can really taste victory.

No competitor in sight as far as the eye can see: without the moral support of his team, the race would have been impossible.
No competitor in sight as far as the eye can see: without the moral support of his team, the race would have been impossible.

How did you prepare for this long period of strain next to your full-time job?

With long cycling units of up to 12 hours at the weekends. I also trained at the gym, especially working hard on my stomach and back musculature. I didn’t stint on stability training, either. I also integrated alternative sports like running and swimming into my training for that. I wanted to have as much fun with the training as possible. It was often borderline impossible to get through it all. Full-time job, training, organising everything for the race. And you still need time in there for rest and relaxation, too. That was unfortunately often neglected.

Stability training
Stability training is athletic training and strengthens the trunk and stabilisation musculature. That makes more effective, ergonomic riding possible for cyclists, for example.

How many hours a week does one have to train in order to manage a race like this one?

I think it isn’t a question of the number of hours that allow you to finish the race in the qualifying period. There are a few core units that count and of course, you really have to have the ability to punish yourself. A long, relaxed ride just to count kilometres certainly isn’t the key to success. With just 15 hours of training a week, it should be possible to finish the race. It’s the quality, not the quantity, that makes the difference.

X-BIONIC is the best sportswear I’ve ever worn!

Did you also practice not sleeping, or sleeping very little?

Not really. I did work shifts. But you can’t really practice not sleeping. In the past, some successful athletes have tried to do just that, but they came to the conclusion that you just can’t train for “sleep withdrawal”. At most, it reduces the regeneration time you need between training units, and that just isn’t the point. During the race, everything just has to come together. You can prepare yourself mentally for the fact that there will be ups and downs. And a good team really makes a decisive difference. I only slept 93 minutes during the four days of the Race Around Ireland.

You can also avoid stopping for everyday tasks like brushing your teeth.
You can also avoid stopping for everyday tasks like brushing your teeth.

How did you eat during the race? Did you train for that in advance?

During the race, my support crew kept me well supplied with sports nutritional products like gels, bars, energy shots, iso drinks and protein drinks. But since psychology plays such an important role, I also like to eat gummi bears, pretzel sticks, pickles, potatoes, sausage and I drink soft drinks. Everything gets tested during training, but I can definitely say I’ll eat nearly anything.

RAI athletes burn countless calories on the road. Bernhard also likes savoury food in between.
RAI athletes burn countless calories on the road. Bernhard also likes savoury food in between.

How do you prepare your equipment? What do you have to pay special attention to when it comes to clothing?

My equipment was thoroughly tested during training. During the competition itself there are no experiments. Only trustworthy equipment is good enough for the race. Everything has to be comfortable, practical and of course weight is also very important. If you add it all up, if you’re carrying around too much unnecessary weight over that kind of distance, you can save energy fast with the right equipment selection. With the clothing, no seams or anything like that can be a bother; that would be disastrous in an ultracycling race. Every detail has to hug the body perfectly. It should be like a second skin. Too much clothing is restrictive, then you can’t move well at all.

How has your experience with X-BIONIC clothing been to date, especially for the long distances you regularly complete?

X-BIONIC is the best sportswear I’ve ever worn. There are lot of little components that make up success in sports. The same is true of X-BIONIC clothing. Every detail is refined and perfect. The aerodynamic characteristics and natural thermal regulation are supported. If I’m too hot, it cools me off. The nights in Ireland were quite brisk, though, at four to eight degrees Celsius. But I didn’t have to change clothing much. That saved me time and didn’t interrupt my racing rhythm. What really fascinates me is that X-BIONIC clothing lasts so long and is so functional. There are cycling pants I’ve been wearing for five years, and feel just as good on my body as the first day I wore them.

What is your favourite part of X-BIONIC? What is it you wouldn’t want to do without?

My favourite part of X-BIONIC, sorry, I really can’t narrow it down to just one item. The X-SOCKS Silver, the three-quarter bike pants (Bike Bib Tight Medium), Powershirt and the Helmet under my actual biking helmet are all great to wear when it’s a little cooler. There isn’t a single cycling unit where I don’t wear at least one of these items.

Never without his X-BIONIC®: the ultracycling specialist Bernhard Steinberger.
Never without his X-BIONIC®: the ultracycling specialist Bernhard Steinberger.

What does your planning for the future look like, do you want to defend your title next year in Ireland?

Where the European Championship in ultracycling will take place next year isn’t certain yet. A return to the Emerald Isle is certainly not out of the question. Ireland is the prettiest island I have ever seen. Just the landscape made me really love the race. The Race Around Ireland (RAI) is the ultimate test for both material and body from the point of view of weather and road conditions. In the future, I will naturally continue to pursue ambitious goals. They really motivate me to do my best.

Is the RAAM (Race Across America) something you can see in your future?

Of course. It’s the reason for all of this. A dream. The only true goal. But it’s especially a financial question, since the RAAM costs 30,000 to 50,000 Euros. And if I go to the RAAM, then I don’t just want to “roll along”.

Race Across America (RAAM)
The Race Across America (RAAM) is an ultra-long distance cycling race held once a year that runs from the West Coast of the United States to the East Coast. The goal is to finish the roughly 4,800 km with an overall height difference of about 52,000 m, within a fixed time limit. www.raceacrossamerica.org
The champion and his team: he can rely on them!
The champion and his team: he can rely on them!

What tips can you give to new enthusiasts who might also want to do this kind of marathon distances?

You should have a lot of fun in almost every training session! Patience and setting small goals are particularly important, both in training and in the race itself. Small injuries should be allowed to heal correctly and thoroughly. Daily stretching is very important,  and you should especially never neglect the regeneration time. It’s only in the breaks that your body can recover and become faster and stronger. In training, you should consider: Less is often more! And never try pushing yourself to the breaking point, because sooner or later your body will get its revenge.

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Facts and figures for the 2015 RAI
  • Distance:  2,143.7 kilometres
  • Altitude difference in metres: 22,655
  • Categories in which you can start:
    *Solo (men and women) *Open bike class (men and women) [elliptical bikes, reclining bikes, etc.] *Tandem (men, women, mixed) *Team of two (men, women, mixed) *Team of four (men, women, mixed) *Team of eight (men, women, mixed)
  • Victory time for Bernhard Steinberger:  98 hours 22 minutes 16 seconds
  • That is the new German record and the second-fastest time the RAI has ever been run -> Race Around Ireland, the hardest bicycling race in Europe!
    Ultracycling UMCA European Champion / European Champion in 2015 “Long Distance Cycling”
  • Bernhard’s total sleep time during this race was just 93 minutes. He also won the special “Armada Award” for the fastest time between timing stations 3 and 4, because he also went his fastest during that period.
  • Links:

RAI 2015

German version on the next page [2] / Deutsche Version auf der nächsten Seite [2]