This year, everything is different, but the Swiss Epic stays!
Right here at the beginning I would like to thank the organiziers and volunteer to allow us some racing in these crazy times!
As last year, I rode this year's Swiss Epic with my Danish friend Thomas Steinthal. But unlike last year, it was me who suffered the most on the uphills this year, as Thomas' shape is excellent currently! But everything from the beginning:
1st Stage Laax – Laax
The first stage was the technically most demanding one of the whole race. After the first 1400m long climb the route led us along the Vorab glacier on rocky and not very flowing trails. And it already happened in the first real descent on the first stage: Thomas had a crash and broke his frame! Luckily it wasn't broken completely and we were able to finish the stage, although Thomas had to ride the remaining downhills very carefully.
After the race, we had to organize a new bike for Thomas. Luckily Silas Hotz, a colleague from the swiss national team, let us use his Canyon Lux. Thomas was very happy, as the full suspension with a dropper post was a huge upgrade, considering the terrain we rode in.
2nd Stage Laax – Arosa
The second stage led us from Laax to Arosa. The first descent was done soon, and after a loop in the valley of the Hinterrhein, the biggest obstacle waited for us. Another long climb with about 1500m of elevation gain was on the menu, up to Ochsenalp. I strugeled a lot on this climb which got always steeper and steeper. Thomas had no problems at all with his new bike though!
3rd Stage Arosa – Arosa
The shortest stage of the Swiss Epic 2020 contained many of my favorite trails in this area. Most of all, the Älpliseetrail from Gredigs Fürgli down towards Arosa was just amazing!
And my body finally got a bit used to "race mode", as it's been a while since the last race as hard as this one.
We rode the second climb of the day, up to Ochsenalp again, quite fast, as we were almost caught by the fastest ladies Annika Langvad and Haley Batten after we took a wrong turn.
In the last descent we had a lot of fun again, even though there were some troubles with some of the numerous hikers...
4th Stage Arosa – Davos
The last transition stage was my favorite stage of this year! The first descent on the Hörnlitrail and further on was just superb, the climb up to duranapass is not too steep and the landscape is stunning, and the descent from the duranapass is just crazy good! All natural trails, sometimes steep but always fast to ride. There was another climb up towards Flüelapass, which was rewarded with a fast and flowing downhill towards the finish line of stage 4.
5th Stage Davos – Davos
The final stage contained another long climb right from the start. But again, the stunning Panoramatrail below the Salezer Horn made it worth it! In the last stage we didn't leave anything in the tank, as the Swiss Epic is the only big race in 2020 after the cancellation of the European Championships in Finland.
Anyway, we could enjoy the downhills and the climbs somehow, although the last stage was very hard. 500m before the finish line I lost my saddle, but luckily this was late enough that it did not cost us any time.
We both look back to this year's Swiss Epic very happy and satisfied. We had fun with racing again after all this time. We want to thank our supporters Velo-Art.ch and Biberoptik, as well as Noah Zbinden and Sandro Anderes who let us use their student flat. And of course a big thank you to Silas Hotz for letting Thomas his bike, and to Mikkel Nørgaard for his support!