I raced the SellaRonda Hero in the Italian Dolomites this past weekend with 4000 Euros. It was a great 84 km, 4300 M vertical course, the same one that will play host to the 2015 World Marathon Champs. It was by far the biggest one day race I have ever been part of. The whole town of Selva de Gardena was ungulffed by the race as the organizers made it into a mini Olympic type atmosphere.
My race started out poorly as I struggled going up the opening 700 M climb at 7 am and rolled over the top in 40th or so. The back descent was a surprise as it was a long piece of fun singletrack which helped me gain a few spots back before knocking my bars on a tree and having to stop and re adjust them. From here I was at rock bottom, but slowly got things turned around as there were 70km to go and lots of time to pick guys off. By mid race guys were dropping like flies and I was climbing into the top 20.
The course was full of huge climbs up into the alpine which lead to some amazing views of the surrounding Dolomites. Some of the nicest mountains I have ever witnessed. I would battle with Marzio Deho for the last 2 hours of the day, de ja vu to the Mongolian Bike Challenge in 2011. This time I got the last laugh and dropped him on the last climb to roll in for 15th overall. I would like to have the start of the race back as a top 10 was surely doable on this day. I would wind up with the 6th fastest time over the last 15 km of the course which was a nice sign the legs are coming around and should be in fine form for Worlds this weekend coming up.
photo credit: Jan Reiner