Bit of a delay on this one.. Mishap with the junk mail folders.
Never the less, some good news update from the north. On Saturday September 1st, I won “Skaidi Xtreme” for the 3rd time in my career. This race has become within short time one of the most recognised events in Norway. It takes place in a wonderful and really special landscape all up in the Norwegian Finnmark.
This year’s edition was more special than usual as the organisers managed to put together the absolute strongest race field in the race’s history. Multiple Canadian champion Cory Wallace and the British champion Ben Thomas were amongst the strongest riders, beside the very the top of the Norwegian MTB elite.
The race consisted of 3 laps of each time 15 km with 1500 meters of elevation all in all. Due to the really bad and rainy weather the day before the race, the track turned into a muddy field. Racing under these extreme conditions is really challenging as this race is taking place in the most northern part of Europe accessible on a bike. The town “Skaidi” is located on the same degree of latitude as Greenland (have a look at Google;-)). Only the warm Gulf current makes it possible for people to live up there. So it is really special!
In order to beat all these strong guys I knew I had to come up with a really good plan and in the same time an aggressive race tactic. That’s what I did from the beginning on. Full speed and attacking every little hill we entered. Technically I am for sure not one of the best riders, but from the previous years’ experiences, I knew that the only chance to win was to make the difference on pure power.
During the first half an hour we were mainly riding on a pretty flat terrain, which made it difficult for me to gain any advantage upon the other riders. After 15 km of racing we entered some more demanding terrain and started to climb the first of 3 longer hills. I followed my plan and went as hard as I could up the hill. On the top only British champion Ben Thomas could follow, but the rest of the competitors were still chasing us behind.
The race was still open and only after the 2nd long climb of the day, I managed to get Ben Thomas off my wheel. I knew that I had to keep up the pace for the last 20 km, trying not to flatten or getting any other mechanical issues.
Everything turned out to be perfect. After a really intense and hard race, I could finally raise my hands as the winner of “Skaidi Xtreme 2018”. This was my 3rd event during my career. It was such an amazing atmosphere at the finish area as so many people came to watch this great event on a sunny day. It was again an unforgettable experience.
Here a little update from the past summer weeks for those who did not follow me on my social media account. It was really exciting and busy time with a lot of travelling, nice memories and good results. In the beginning of August I finished at the 5th position at the UCI Marathon world cup “Montafon M3” in Austria. I stayed in Austria to race the UCI 3 days stage race “Ischgl Iron Bike” the week after. I finished on the 6th spot in the overall classification. End of August I travelled to Nebraska USA to participate in my first ever World Championship of Gravel Racing. After 250 km I proudly crossed the finish line in 7th position. The gravel sport has really gained a lot of popularity in the USA and I am sure that it’s just a matter of time before this discipline strikes Europe!
In the upcoming weeks I will be racing in Germany and Belgium. This will be as preparation for one of my big goals this year, the Luxembourgish MTB marathon championship on the 6th of October.
Here a Link to the Skaidi Xtreme homepage:
Here an awesome video from the race: