On the 25th of May 16 riders of my cycling club, including myself, started for our first Schleck Gran Fondo in Mondorf-Les-Bains in Luxembourg.
The Schleck Gran Fondo is a UCI Gran Fondo World Series qualifier on Fränk Schleck's training routes in Luxemburg an especially in the beautiful Moselle region. The Schleck Gran Fondo is a qualifier for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships.
The Race is 160km and 2300m elevation. Although it’s a race, it’s open to everybody. All the qualifications riders will start in Age Categories from the youngest to the oldest. There are 10 different age categories for both men and women.
Although my preparation wasn’t perfect due to holidays, I started with some riders of my club in Starting Block 4 (Age 45-49).
They released the blocks with around 2 minutes time difference.
As soon as my block crossed the starting line the race started. It was full gas from the start, as you want to stay with the big group in the beginning. I was immediately alone, did see anyone from my group anymore. After 30 minutes a more relaxed part of the course started, this is along the river Moesel. There a lot of groups came together and I started to see my team members again. Also I passed some of my younger team members that started in earlier starting blocks.
After that easy part along the river it went hilly again and from of that moment I was part of a small group of 10 people, including Andy Schleck :-) With this group we rode quite well together for some time till we sa a bigger group riding upfront. We pushed harder to make sure we became part of that bigger group.
But due to the refill breaks and climbs, I was not long of a big bunch and had to push my way to the finish on my own, or in little groups.
It’s really an up and down race as there are no long, high climbs, but the profile of the course is so hilly that you have the feeling it just goes up and down. But all hills are good to ride, not to steep. Most of them you can ride in the outer ring.
In the last 15 kms I catched up with erik, who also rides with my club. As he is a bit younger, he started around 10 minutes before me. We decides to stay together till the end of the ride, with a litte sprint in the end, which was a lot of fun as we came laughing over the finish line.
It took me exactly 5 hours for the 160km. I became 147th im my age class and 904th overall.
Not so bad afterall
I would recommend the Schleck Gran Fondo to everybody who would like to experience a real good organised race on a closed course. Yes, it can be hard sometimes, but in the end you decide yourself how hard you want to race.
Here you can find my Strava ride details: https://www.strava.com/activities/2395798051
You can find a lot more pictures of the ötztaler here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/7jmzcwGHd44APy1q8
Sat, 25 May