This was my first A class event. I had visited Berlin for the 1st time a few years back and always wanted to return. The idea of racing 42Km on closed roads in Berlin was all the motivation I needed.
The day before the race started early, riding to StandertCycles to get some coffee. Already there we met some old and new friends. EASTLONDONFIXED riders were there and from that moment on we tagged along. We finished our coffees and rode to OAKLEY to pick up the starting kit. Bikes everywhere! The vibe was amazing. Riders in an out. Teams rolling in together.
The rest of the day was filled with vegan food, some beers and a lot of bike talk. Bumping into friends riding in different directions and a slow ride around Berlin.
The race day:
42Km away from the centre of Berlin our train arrived at the destination, a short ride to the starting line and we could have a preview of what was about to come. The previous race from the VelothonBerlin was going on and spectators were giving their full support to the pack passing by.
The race format was a no qualifying needed. That ensured everyone was in the main event and for sure that was a real breaker for many. But the starting grid was defined by riders goals, those fighthing for gold in the front followed by a second group who wanted to ride fast and finally everyone else who was there for the show and wanted to do their best.
That had some inexperienced riders or big egos misplacing themselves, but that was something that a few shouts had the bunny hopping line cutting easily under control.
The race started with a rolling start. 3Km behind the car until we reach the highway, yes, we had the highway closed for ourselves. Once we turned right on the roundabout it was full gas.
The change of speed was a shock of reality and had everyone of their saddles trying to gain position and stick with the pack.
It didn't take long for those who were wondering how it was going in the front of the race to have a small glimpse of it as riders started to show up on the side of the road, most of them with no sings of serious injuries. That set the most daring, or inexpedient riders, to a more safe manners.
Big moments like this teaches us big lessons. Having the bike ready only on the race day to realise I had forgotten my cog and had no time to get a spare one meant I was up for a different challenge than everyone else, forget about what position I would arrive, now I just want to be able to arrive before the sweep car catches me.
I was spinning like a mad hamster on drugs trying to keep up and all my energy drained fast. I was trying to stay with any group I could manage but soon enough there was just me, several kilometres to go and the wind... oh that harsh braking wind.
It's funny how your mind easily drifts to dark places when you are in pain. But fortunately what seemed to be a nonsenseself-inflicted-torture came to an end, the finish line was packed with screaming fans on both sides and crossing the finish line was my gold medal.
After a few minutes on the floor where I couldn't do much more than just reply to people I was OK and just needed a moment. I finally manage to get and started to soak in everything around me. I manage to finish. It was loud. I already almost forgot the pain and all the familiar faces around me out me back to my happy zone! Fuck yeah!