Bike Marathon Miękinia 2014First biking race of the year ! Miękinia is in fact a small village near Wrocław, and the event stands for what used to be "Bike Maraton Wrocław" (I took part in 2011, this was my first race in Poland).
As expected, 2014 broke the frequentation record.. from 2011. 2012 took place under a memorable heavy rain, and 2013 due to late snow was delayed in June on a day many had planned something else. More than 2000 cyclers took the start, with one thousand in the Giga distance that most of my fellows and myself chose.
The Bike Marathon of Wrocław does not take place in a region know for being technically difficult, we are in the Odra valley surrounded with plains, we barely find some dunes and little hillets hidden in the forest, from which the "route engineers" made the most. To summarize, mostly a fast terrain punctuated by few hops here and there.
With such a frequentation, the start was given separately for each sector, with few minutes of delay between each. I have not taken part in any Bike Maraton last year and due to that, I initially had no sector to start in, but thanks to a mail to the organisers I inherited from the third. Some of my friends like Wojtek Mateusz and Krzysztof had the second, some like Julen and Michał the third, and others fourth and even more. This gave to this race a slight exciting taste of time trial event in the background of our "internal rivalty": I knew that many of them, despite the lack of technical challenge, were willing to make the most of their physical condition to mark the start of the season after all the trainings during an exceptionally gentle winter.
The start was given and the battle began, as expected. The wide road narrowed when we entered the first tracks wandering between fields, and bikers rode in two lanes, with barely space for overtaking. Each space in the vegetation was immediately seized for some opportunistic overtaking. Sometimes elbows and handlebars were touching, rear wheels messing with front weels of riders behind. The dry ground (it had not rained for days) was like erupting in a large cloud of dust, like convoys of coaches in old westerns.
Later, as a hierarchy somehow started to settle down, the first little uphills occured and messed up again in different ways the race, with those feeling obliged to step down, and others willing to ride up. Same in downhills... At mid distance, I overtook Krzysztof. My secret goal was to reach also Mateusz, but I was not sure to achieve it. As for Wojtek I knew that catching back five minutes on him was an impossible mission. Julen, my spanish fellow, whose physical condition recently improved I feared, was left behind since the start.
Then occured the technical fragments on the singletracks. I must admit I was not the fastest on this portion, but oh well, the guys ahead of me barely rode faster, no possibility to overtake, and at the exit of this "node" that lasted about ten kilometers, I was still sticking back to the same riders. The last parts of the race were more peaceful than the beginning, and I kept my overtaking activity till the final kilometers, still feeling strong. The finish line occured slightly earlier than I expected (52km instead of 60) and I regretted a bit not to have given more.
Wojtek had been the fastest on the Mega distance, me second, Krzysztof and all the other guys of the Daleko Jeszcze team after. Julen and Mateusz rode the Giga distance. Julen rode significantly slower than me, but Mateusz with almost the same pace. However, he had started from the second sector with less traffic. And he is definitely fitter on flat routes.
The rest of teh season promises to be exciting ! I don't know yet which MTB race I will do next, due to unconvenient dates and conflicts with triathlons I might do none till the first half of 2014. But lots of interesting events will take place from July :)