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Kellerwald Marathon, 1999

The first of a series organised mountainbike marathons in Germany is held annually in May in Kellerwald, North of Frankfurt. This race was advertised as 114km and 3000m of vertical, but someone has seriously miscalculated. Both Andy and I ditched after 100kms and 2300m, realising that we were knackered and at least 30kms from the finish. Here's the story as told by Andy:

I ran out of steam, along with Gavin, at the 100 km mark. This would not have been bad, as we all know that the last hill is ALWAYS possible, if the race had actually been the 114km advertised. But, they had moved the goal posts and it became 132km. Bit of a bummer, but I was always going to be pushing it for the 114 km. For Gavin and myself it was simply not enough miles under the belt this year to do the whole thing, but we have learnt a bit about pace, drinking, eating, etc. And Gavin WILL keep mentioning that he ran the London marathon the weekend before, as if that makes a difference to the price of bread ! And what of the others? After 40 km or so, Susanne asked some guy the way and got misdirected. It turned out to be a short cut of one hill, missing a hard 12 km & 350m from her half marathon. She finished before the rest of us, with bags of energy in reserve. Thinking she'd done the half marathon she was surprised to see Andy, Gavin & Simon passing by later, as we started our second laps - it certainly gave us lads a scare when we arrived at the end of our first lap to see her standing there changed, smiling and fresh as a daisy cheering us on! Chris managed to complete the half marathon without any slip ups, which is pretty impressive for someone who rides only once or twice a week. A big well done. Next time you can do the full marathon!
Simon was rightfully chuffed with himself for managing to complete his first MTB marathon in 7hr 20 min! As he reported, it was bloody knackering, having started too quickly on the first lap. Consequently, he had a tortuous second lap, being overtaken by several people including this brilliant Betty with legs like tree trunks. She left him standing on the long up hills, but by cycling like a complete nutter, he overtook her on the downhills to be overtaken again on the next uphill. So, he clearly had some unfair motivation for not abandoning. The overall winner, a guy with sponsorship from Specialized and possibly (no, definitely) a professional, managed to finish the full marathon in just over 5 hours. Fast bastard! The course had 600 starters, mostly for the half-course. It was mainly woodland tracks but they seem to have searched out the muddiest and gravelly-ist to make up for the lack of single tracks. The drinks stations and course marking were ace - very German ! Over-eating was a serious risk: I will take a doggy bag to the next one.

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