A while ago we have planned a photo- and video shooting for the weekend before Eurobike. Beside that being a very stupid idea, as it is normally super busy during this period, we thought we can do something special: Why not trying to ride one of the toughest Mountain Bike Marathon races in Switzerland with our new U.P. ?
I have done the Grand Raid
a couple of times more than 20 years ago. I had some really good moments during this race but then also some I really suffered (for example when I lived in the Netherlands, never trained more than 2 hours and of course only on flat roads).
Marc our photographer and myself have been invited by the Grand Raid organizers to do the race. After sitting in the car for 3 hours we were warmly welcomed with a glass of local white wine. It was really funny to go trough the technical control the evening before the race and having some UCI officials shaking their heads when they saw a guy with a drop bar approaching the control area.
After a short rest we got up at 4am the next morning to get to the start by shuttle bus. On the starting line I started to question myself if it was a good idea to do the race with the U.P. even more that I did not have time to train before the race. But once on the trails it felt very good. Obviously you loose a little time in the very technical sections but then you gain a lot on the uphill’s and in the gravel sections. By far the biggest motivation came from the spectators. I am pretty sure that I got more people cheering me up (or U.P.) than the race leader. People just loved the strange guy with the drop bar. I have heard also a couple of times the comment that Lance is coming. Guess that’s French humor…
Before the last climb, which included a long bike push section, we turned off from the race and did a very scenic one hour ride back to the start of the race. Finding your own path that’s what the U.P. is all about. Why pushing your bike when you can ride it?
Once back in Sion we jumped in our car and drove to the Schwarzsee
in the beautiful Fribourg area to make another photo shooting. After a quick wheel change from 650 to 700C we were shooting pictures in the “Cross” setup of the U.P.
If you want to see more of how the U.P. did in the Grand Raid have a look at the video below.