MittelgebirgeClassique: From the winner’s perspective

MittelgebirgeClassique: Aus der Sicht der Siegerin

The MittelgebirgeClassique, a challenging ultra-distance race through the German low mountain range, recently came to an end. For Marei, a talented and passionate cyclist, the race was an outstanding success. Not only did she reach the top ten overall, but she was also the fastest woman in the field.

Preparation and Training: The Key to Success

Preparation for the MittelgebirgeClassique was crucial for Marei. For the first time, she followed a structured training plan that helped her organize her sessions in a targeted manner and work towards the race. This was particularly important because she had to manage her career entry at the same time. The intensive preparation included numerous hours on the bike, regular interval training and special units to improve performance.

“I spent many hours on the bike and did intervals for the first time, which I really enjoyed,” reports Marei. Through this structured training, she was able to significantly increase her endurance and performance, which was ultimately reflected in her impressive race result.

The race: An adventure over 1000 kilometers

The Low Mountains Classique stretched over around 1000 kilometers with an extremely high elevation gain that demanded everything from the riders. Marei loves climbing, which helped her in this race. “I really like this. “I prefer to ride routes like this in training,” she says.

The first day

The race started at sunrise, creating a beautiful atmosphere and positive vibes among the riders. The first few kilometers were characterized by a large field of riders, and Marei had to mentally prepare herself to ride at her own pace and not be influenced by the fast start of the other riders.

“It was hard not to let it affect me, but I'm good at keeping my pace” she explains. This strategy paid off. Although she initially felt like she was slower, she maintained her own pace and was able to manage her strength better.

In the evening she reached the Black Forest and rode through familiar areas near Freiburg, which gave her additional motivation. “It was kind of crazy to do it in a race mode and ride there at night. It was absolutely beautiful,” she remembers. Despite a few rain showers, Marei was lucky not to get directly caught in the rain and was able to enjoy the route.

Checkpoint 1: A strategic advantage

Marei reached the first checkpoint, after about 440 kilometers, at around three in the morning. This point was strategically important as she could sleep in a bed there, giving her a restful break. Sleep is a crucial factor in ultra-distance races, and Marei decided to go with less sleep this time to save time.

The second day

The second day began for Marei after a short sleep break of just one hour and twenty minutes. Fatigue began to set in and she had difficulty maintaining her usual pace. The second day is often the hardest because the initial energy wanes and the physical and mental stress increases.

In the Vosges, Marei encountered steep climbs that she had underestimated. “The Vosges were a lot steeper than I thought,” she admits. Despite the challenges, she persevered, even if she found herself in a relaxed riding mode that wasn't optimal for a race. Meeting other riders like Georg and Sven lifted her spirits and gave her new energy.

The last day

On the last day, after another night of little sleep, Marei struggled with severe back pain, which significantly affected her ride. “The last 100 kilometers were really hard for me,” she admits. Despite the pain and fatigue, she continued her journey and eventually reached the finish as the fastest woman in the race and in the top ten overall.

Conclusion and outlook: lessons for future races

The MittelgebirgeClassique was a valuable experience for Marei that showed her how important good preparation and a well-thought-out race plan are. Deciding to sleep less to save time was a bold move that helped her test and push her limits. “I definitely ride better when I get enough sleep,” she reflects. Still, she recognized that less sleep can provide a significant advantage in shorter races.

In the future, Marei plans to focus more on gravel and mountain bike racing as she particularly loves the nature and challenges of these routes. “My heart burns for forest and gravel,” she says. These races not only offer a new kind of challenge, but also the opportunity to further develop her passion for off-road riding. 

With a view to upcoming races such as the “Bright Midnight” in Norway and the “Transpyrenees” in the Pyrenees, Marei has exciting plans. 

If you would like to follow Marei's journey, follow her on Instagram: @marei.mol.

(C) @cjk__design

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