I am just back from another great adventure, this time in Israel. The race “Samarathon Desert” (13-16.02.19) was this year classified as an UCI S2 event with some strong international teams on the start list. As the rule states the event had to be raced in teams consisting of 2 riders. This time I was teaming up with Cory Wallace, current 24h World Champion and multiple Canadian XCM Champion.
This team constellation showed to be a great match.
We started the race really great with a second place in the prologue, where we only lost 1,5 minute to the stage winners.
On the second day we raced a long marathon stage with 88 km and a desert wind blowing like crazy. On one of the short but hard climbs midway in the race, we managed to get a little gap. None of our contenders ever got back to us again, as it was extremely hard to race as a group in the windy desert. We won the stage by almost 4 minutes on that day.
On day 3 we once again played our cards well and took advantage of the other team’s mistakes in the deep desert sand. Here again we got a little gap and this was enough to fire up the two old Diesel engines. Nobody saw us again before the finish line. Another stage win and another great day on the bike!
After the first 3 stages we had an overall lead of almost 5 minutes. We knew that this normally would be enough but in the same time no room for any mistakes or flat tires etc.
We went confident into the last stage of 55 km of pure single trails. Nevertheless we knew that this terrain could cause us problems. This was also exactly what happened. The last stage turned out to be an inferno of absolutely crazy rocky single trails for about 2 and a half hour. Being marathon specialists, we do not spend so much time on practicing tracks like these. After only short time within the race, we switched to “damage control” and only focussed on not losing our overall lead. We came in 3rd on this last stage with a loss of almost 2 minutes but still super happy that we won the overall with a margin of more than 3 minutes.
I am super happy with this result and that I am back on my normal level again, especially after the race at Lanzarote. Unfortunately I got a stomach virus during that race at Lanzarote and had to fight like a crazy to finish the last stages. Under these circumstances getting away with a 7th place overall was ok but not a result that “fits” my normal ambitions.
I will now be doing some weeks of hard training before the race season starts in northern Europe.
Here a link to the homepage/Facebook of the organizers:
Here some cool videos from each stage:
Some news-articles after the race: