Salzkammergut Trophy 2015

Salzkammergut Trophy 2015

29.07.15 10:31 6.586Text: Lisi HagerPhotos: Erwin Haiden, martinbihounek.com (11), Marc Schwarz (3)Rising temperatures and thunderstorms: our best-of from the race of races in Bad Goisern. Winners Milena Cesnakova and Andi Seewald were both able to set new records.29.07.15 10:31 6.587

Salzkammergut Trophy 2015

29.07.15 10:31 6.587 Lisi Hager Erwin Haiden, martinbihounek.com (11), Marc Schwarz (3) Dieser Beitrag ist auch in Deutsch verfügbarRising temperatures and thunderstorms: our best-of from the race of races in Bad Goisern. Winners Milena Cesnakova and Andi Seewald were both able to set new records.29.07.15 10:31 6.587

Saturday, July 11th 2015, 5 A.M. - all hell breaks loose in Bad Goisern.
655 riders were able to start under perfect conditions as participants in one of Europe's most challenging marathons. 3829 were about to follow them later that day on six different tracks, making it a total of 4484 competitors from 45 countries - A record number of participants.

The Salzkammergut Trophy offers a perfect challenge for everyone. Riders are free to choose from distances between 22 and 211 kilometers, an elevation gain between 688 and 7119 meters.Also to ride either on a hardtail, fullsuspension, tandem, fatbike, unicycle, scooter or even Waffenrad. Various categories such as firefighter’s or regional were also offered to the participants.

The true heroes, however, were those who headed for the Raschberg at dawn, and subsequently conquered the entire Salzkammergut on wheels. Repeat "offenders" such as Andreas Dollinger and Heinz Zörweg, former victors like Wolfgang Krenn and Ondrej Fojtik, multi-sportive women like Sia Svendsen and Hana Bergh, or even regulars like René Reidinger who celebrated his 10 year anniversary in the A category.

However, none of them were able stand a chance against a certain duo that managed to set new records. Previous year's winner Andi Seewald (Team Centurion Vaude) turned his premiere ride on the extreme distance into a solo performance after only a few kilometers, his advantage ever growing and resulting in a glorious victory after 9:50:47 (about three minutes faster than Luis Leao Pinto in 2013) - over 21 minutes ahead of the Czech Ondrej Fojtik and the Tyrolean Martin Ludwiczek.
"I started as usual and then everything just went well", explained the sympathetic 24-year-old Bavarian, who had spent the previous night at a campsite instead of renting a luxurious hotel suite. It was his first race over six hours.

Titleholder Milena Cesnakova proved that her ability to handle heat and dry ground just as well as rain and a mudbath, which she had faced the year before. The Czech even managed to beat Andrea Huser's track record from 2006 by seven seconds when she reached the goal after 12:49:03, followed by Jana Skrbkova and Lucie Vlásková, leading a triple Czech podium.

Unfortunately, the record finish of 14 female starters in the A category didn't happen; the Slovak Barbara Skandikova was the only woman to reach the finish. Among other victims of heat, time limits and technical defects was local hero Martina Deubler, who had to give up her fourth rank due to stomach problems.

222 male participants also did not finish - among them Andreas Goldberger, who tumbled off his bike trying to outrun an opponent, destroying his wheels and disc brake.

The remaining racers - except for those A-category riders who were still within the time limit but had to be removed from the race due to hail in Gosau - had to face a fierce thunderstorm with brutal squalls and heavy rain (which seems to be almost a Trophy tradition). This did not keep the moderators and audience from giving them a hearty and noisy welcome.

 "Liquid sunbeams" 

that's how TVB manager Pamela Binder calls the reverse of the typical weather in Bad Goisern

Friday, July 10th 2015, 11:30 P.M. - there's hustle and bustle in the great hall; it smells of snack meat, bread, and stress.

1100 helpers were needed to organize this huge event. During a last night shift, several of them prepared a total of 900 snack packs for those of their colleagues who would soon leave to work on the tracks: guarding checkpoints, riding motorbikes, supervising the refreshment stations, working as mechanics, etc.
Others had already filled thousands of starter bags, put up hundreds of meters of barriers as well as countless banners, signs, sign posts, tables and benches.

As cyclists were slowly but steadily arriving in the Salzkammergut during the week before the great showdown, the town halls, shops and gardens grew empty. In those days around the Trophy, there's no time for regular work or hobbies: press releases have to be written, tents have to be erected, drivers need to be instructed.

Once the last snack has been packed, the first out of three event days has been mastered - and there's about one hour until the next one.

For the Trophy's start on Friday, the region's young and wild showed their best tricks, spectacular stunts and jumps during the dirt and trial show on Bad Goisern's marketplace. At the same time the Expo opened for the first time, featuring 90 exhibitors. Then everything else happened pretty much at once: helicopter flights, a movie afternoon, riding technique training, unicycle downhill training, pasta party, riders' presentation, bicycle workshop, bouncy castle, face-painting for kids...
Those who were still in the mood for some thorough warm-up were able to achieve it by dancing the night away until just before dawn in the Ö3 disco with DJ Philip Kofler.

 12 stations, a staff of over 200, 33000 plastic cups, 15000 liters of isotonic drinks, 12000 bread rolls, 8000 bananas, 5600 sausages, 4000 cookie packs 

excerpt of the refreshment stations' distribution list

Saturday, July 11th 2015, 9:30 P.M.
All other MTB marathons in this country would have been long over by that time of the day. Not the Salzkammergut Trophy: the festival tent was full of people; inside, the smell of grilled chicken mingled with the perspiration of the rain-soaked newcomers. Any complaints about this were lost between thunderous applause and cool moderation.

When it came to celebrating the victors and determine the winners of the raffle, the international Trophy participants seemed no less eager than when they conquered the tracks. Even after 18 hours, several legs that should have been dead tired were still in the mood to dance.

It was quite a while after midnight when the Salzkammergut Trophy 2015 did at last come to an end. How comforting that the date for 2016 is already scheduled: July 8th - July 10th. See you there!