Three weeks before the race
I got a strange email question from a still unknown person : Would I want to join a four person team for the Tortour? Ahemmm YES!.
I knew about the Tortour too well. It`s a 1000km race around Switzerland with 14,500m elevation gain that not only requires some serious physical fitness but, if not more importantly, a well organized support team, a similar format as the Race Across America.
So from one day to the next I was on the team to join them only three weeks later.
I would learn soon I had the fortune to be on a fantastic team that not only was organizational top notch but funny that would even make the most serious German smile.
And here goes the story in pictures and videos:
Thursday, 14 August: Morning
|Everyone was excited on the way to the race (f.l.: me, Stefan (racer), Isa (racer), Ariella (support))|
|A lot of gear is required with the hope you can find it when you need it.|
|Every racer got a box which should minimize chaos. I successfully created chaos anyway.|
|At the race briefing. Being surrounded by 500+ other excited racers and supporters made for an incredible atmosphere. If you werent excited before this briefing, you are definitely now! The anticipation was rising!|
Then, the prolog in the afternoon. Merely a kilometer or so of high intensity to place the teams into an order for the next day.
We won the prolog in our category. That meant we start first at 2:33AM, a minute ahead of the second placed team.
Friday 2:30AM Start
|The starting formation. The team to the right and the follow vehicle behind.|
|Just imagine about 130 vehicles with `Caution Bicycle ahead` driving around in Switzerland….Bikes rule the next 48 hours|
|No idea why we were waving to the follow vehicle. I (pink arm warmers in the front) was occupied with other things apparently.|
|And then the countdown. 1000km ahead|
|Ariella and Mirco…let the fun get started
Friday 10:30AM: 8 Hours – 233km
There were three team stages (first, middle and last). The other ~850km were split between the four racers.
|We had highly concentrated drivers. Not only the cyclist had to ride 1000km, our support crew had to drive those too!|
|I wasnt aware that we had a mountain goat on the team. This woman can climb!|
|The views were breathtaking….in two ways.|
Friday 14:30 PM – 12 hours – 340km
As hard as we were working, we had at least the same amount of fun (here on the way up the 14km climb, Flüela pass.)
Friday 18:30 – 16 hours – 480km
|Not a lot of rest time between the individual stages: Transfer to next check point, eating and getting clothes ready for next stage do not give a lot of time to relax|
|The weather couldnt decide. It was sunny. 10 minutes late it poured down.|
Saturday 4:00 AM – 26 hours – 770km
After some 30 hours of having fun and riding, the energy was slowly draining and I got tired. My last shift (before the team stage) was about to start. It was 4am. 26 hours on the road. 50km to ride to the next check point.
|It was dark. It was wet. I was tired.|
10km into my stage, I was falling asleep on the bike and swerving around the lane.I needed some entertainment. I asked our support team to tell me a story.
Of all the stories Barbara could tell me she chose to give me the pros and cons to date her two brothers. After a 30 minutes very entertaining monologue she decided herself, it might not be a good idea to date either of them.
And all of a sudden I was at the checkpoint.
Saturday 13:29 34 hours: 1000km
After the last team stage and 34 hours of being on the road we crossed the finish line.
|We made it! From left: Max, me, Isa, Stefan|
Then, the entry into the arena onto the stage with our song. No matter how often I watch this video I am still getting wet eyes. It brought all the fantastic memories into one moment.
|The moderator asked me three questions back-to-back. Sleep deprived, I forgot all of them and answered my own.|
Thanks to a fantastic team: Stefan, Max, Isa, Ariella, Barbara, Betty and Mirco!