Bike 4 Peaks- Stage 1

Bike 4 Peaks started today in Bavaria, Germany with the first stage heading 69 km over some small mountains from Ruhpolding, Germany to Lofer Austria.  It started with a 20-kilometer neutral start on the highway as the original route had been recently washed out by torrential rains.  After getting screwed over pretty good in the first stage of the Alpen Tour in Austria last week, my 3 North American Kona teammates (Kris Sneddon, Barry Wicks, Spencer Paxson) and myself were determined to have a better opener for this race.

Kris made the first solid move 3km into the neutral start right after being swarmed by a bunch of slower riders from the back.  He took the matter into his own hands and road through the outside patio of a roadside café to gain back his top 20 position with Barry at the head of the 900-rider field.  Spencer and I spent 40 minutes of the neutral start fighting to stay in the top 50 and were doing great when the lead car pulled off and the race began.  There was a big problem though as the course immediately turned left off the highway and backtracked beside the highway for a couple hundred meters.    I saw the first course cutter drop down off the highway, riding across the ditch and thus going from around 400th position to top 20.  All I could say to Spencer was “Uh Oh” as 300 other course hoppers did the same move, thus swarming us and acting like a giant funnel.  Spencer and I went from top 40 to 300+ position in a matter of 10 seconds.  I was laughing, but also a bit annoyed and wanted to jersey the boneheads who were cutting course.  We were screwed and came to a stand still for a long time; a couple riders jumped a barbwire fence beside us and started cheating there way across a farmer’s field.  Too the entertainment of everyone a bull chased after one of the boneheads, but unfortunately didn’t get him.

After a 3 minute hike up the side of the cluster bomb of riders we were finally able to hop on our bikes and start racing, now minutes behind the leaders but at least we were moving.  I wanted to body check every rider I passed over the next hour as I knew they had cut course but I was too busy trying save my race.

From here the race was rad as we road over some beautiful Bavarian countryside full of lots of history dating back to 1806 when Bavaria was first proclaimed a kingdom.  The track was full of diverse riding as we ripped along gravel roads, paved bike paths, up a river canyon and finally up a large climb onto a sub alpine plateau.  It was a beautiful ride; the closer we neared to the finish line in Lofer the larger the mountains got.  It was great racing under the huge glaciated alps, making it often difficult to focus on the task on hand of riding are bikes at full speed down the mountainside.

Coming into Lofer the track was now mostly bike paths with a bit of single track mixed in making it a solid finish as I chased down a top 30 position.  Much like the Alpen Tour the racing was tight to the end with Euro riders within seconds of each other all throughout the day.  Wicks and Sneddon both ended up having great rides coming in 11th and 20th.  Spencer fought back to 27th and I made it into 31st.  Fingers crossed tomorrow goes a little smoother at the start!

After the race we washed our bikes with fire hoses, ate plentiful finish line food and basked in the sun for the first time since we arrived to Europe over a week ago.  Tonight we are resting up in the mountains at our historical Bavarian lodging as we prep for what promises to be another spectacular ride through the Alps tomorrow!

Stage results can be found here:


One Comment on “Bike 4 Peaks- Stage 1”

  • Carsten June 6th, 2013 7:30 pm

    Hi Cory,
    good look folks in good old Germany!
    Have fun, enjoy the “weizen” beer and happy trail!


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