Monday, July 05, 2004

Marathon Summary

Due to problems with my net connection, this entry is a little late.
So then.
Im still alive.

About the marathon, then:
First off, we got there in time. That is worth mentioning. As another note, i was the only one from the crew that actually took part. The others were there though, as we went by Lasse's car and another mate was there too.
So i got my number from the registration and went into the starting corridor while having previously warmed up and everything. I noticed a peculiar gentleman. first off, he had no helmet. What initially caught my attention, though, was his bike. It was a woman's city bike. As practical for such a marathon as a wheelbarrow would be. As i feared, he turned out to be tough competition. Somewhy, most people with the silliest ever possible bikes do. He had a water bottle hung over his shoulder with a string.

So yes, the track was pretty muddy at places, and even worse most of the time. I noticed that most of the people, many with bikes and equipment many times the value of mine, walked up slopes i just rode up. I walked in the beginning too, but i noticed it is faster to pedal slowly with an easy gear. Also less straining on the legs. And that, on such a long distance, matters.

The first 10 or so kilometers were for breaking up the 1000 people into smaller groups. So in the beginning, one just waits and waits and tries to get by people at every opportunity. From 10 to 20 i just rode sortof normally. 20 till 40 were the golden times. I only passed and passed people. I sill remember the expression of a gentleman riding a bianchi (expensive and good bike manufacturer) frame when i passed him. His eyes were as big as saucers. From 40 to 50 was normal again. And then came the last 5 kilometers. Those killed me. I was getting tired, but, i think at least, the biggest problem were the new riding pants i had never tried before. They turned out to be too tight in a rather specific place, wich, especially to a male rider, is not nice. Not nice at all. I suppose i lost some 50 places during the last 3 km. But still, i finished and managed not to cry or faint, although barely.

Henceforth the morale: do not go on a long race with equipment you have never tried before.

Before the race, there was some fuss about the track being too difficult for the average sunday rider. Well, i had no problems with it. Only that less mud would have been nice. But then again, i might not be an average sunday ride anymore. Basically, i liked the track. Straining, but nice. Very technical. I like technical tracks.

While i was racing, my support crew, that is Lasse, Kristi and Tõnis, went and got themselves a place to sit and count the riders next to the track. They found a sauna or some small house on a slope the track was coming up. The climb was after the muddiest downhill of the entire track. As much as they told me, there werent many people who didnt crash. No wonder, too. I managed to stay on the bike somehow. But in 15 centimeters of mud on a downhill, it wasnt easy. I sort of came down the hill half-sideways. Lasse and Tõnis took pictures.

It took me 3 hours 37 minutes 32.7 seconds to negotiate the 56 kms. Started as the 768 th rider, finished as the 569 th. 21st in my own age group.

And another nice episode from the race:
During the first 10 km or so, i lent my pump to a fellow rider in trouble. He had bought himself a high-tech gas container powered pump but didnt know how to use it. I gave him the pump, took his phone number and rode on.
When i finished and called him, he had already started for home in his car. As he lived in Tallinn and was passing through Tartu, we agreed that he would leave the pump in a gas station. When i went to get my pump i also got a beer, his way of saying thanks. Woot.

See the pictures Lasse took here. Im number 768.

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