Auch, my neck and back are hurting after 2 days of MTB fun in the small skiresort of Luosto. Luosto is only about an hours drive up north from Rovaniemi. The XC on Saturday went over not to difficult terrain but the biggest problem was the sharp stones on the trail. That ended my race already before it really started in the first of 5 rounds. I punctured after 1,7km and ran to the service zone where I was handed a spare backwheel. Then I left for the last part of the first round, a steep uphill on the ski slopes of Luosto and I started feeling positive again. The downhill was technical and rocky and not so fast so my tires should have lasted but just at the end I had a flat back tire again. DNF behind my name and not a thing I could do about it. A lot of riders had flats and a handfull had to abandon before they could ride all 5 laps. In the end Juha Kangaskokko was the fastest with a considerable lead on Alex Schwarz and in 3th place came Daniel Schwarz. With these riders on the starting list it was guaranteed to have a high level race.
And as you can guess these riders were also present for the 60 k Amethyst marathon which was a tour of about 20 k around the Luosto fell. The track was mainly on X-county-skiing tracks and was superfast. In the beginning the speed was quite comfortable but then Juha Kangaskokko put himself in the lead and only Alex and Daniel Schwarz could follow. I was in 4th position and let them go because this was my first real Mtb competition of the season and I new I wouldn’t be able to follow them to the finish. Only a few minutes after the 3 left me I saw Juha fixing his rear tire and I was back on 3 th place. I was yelling to him that I would just go my own pace and could help him catching up. UTOPIA. After 1 round I noticed that my heartbeat stayed around 185rpm and my back started hurting. The heartrate wasn’t the problem but I didn’t really feel good because of my back so I just kept on riding the speed I felt comfortable with. I saw some riders coming up behind me but they didn’t seem to catch up so fast. Suddenly in the second of three rounds, Juha came fast from behind me and past me in a for him comfortable pace. For me UTOPIA. With some 12km to go I decided to wait for the rider behind me and saw is was Jussi Karjalainen. Jussi is like a diesel locomotive an his engine is hard to stop ( I know him from Levi 24). I just hooked to his back wheel and was able for the first time to take a breather and recover a bit. My heartbeat was even going down to 162rpm. Jussi was pushing his big gears and was trying to get rid of me. I was happily recovering behind me and waiting to attack on the last steep hill. That’s what I did and in this way I became 4th. In a little bit more than 2h02.
Juha ( 1h57) was not able to catch up with the Schwarz bros and becam 3th Alex won the Marathon in 1h55.
Heikki Haaparanta came in in 7th place in 2h11
After the race I was very tired but also satisfied. It had been a while since I had to dig so deep during a race and this will prepare me well for the coming MTB race next Sunday in Virpiniemi, Oulu
I hope to finish closer to the leaders there.