Sunday, 17 November 2019

Heino Fall Race - Beating the (ex) World Champ!

Bike: Trek Top Fuel 9.9 (2019) Racing Ralph 2.25 1.5 bar / Racing Ralph 2.25 1.5 bar

Result: 11th place overall

Heino Fall Race is my favorite autumn race. It takes place in Denmark and it's a quick and fun race with surprisingly many climbs (for Denmark which is extremely flat). The trails are flowy and entertaining. We do two laps of a track with a total of 45km.

There are always a bunch of really quick Danish racers that take part. This year we had the M40 World Champ; Jens Gorm Hansen, elite dude Benjamin Justesen and my usual opposition, and friends of mine after so many races together: Thomas Kyrum-Stein, Henrik Albæk, Henrik Søeberg, Niels Bay Petersen, Jeppe Hjort and many more quick cyclists. A surprise wild card was Danish World Champ from 2016, Annika Langvad.

The race started and we were off. The first part is a gravel road loop which after just a few hundred meters goes into a climb. The field split up directly and I was left with the second group at the top. In the next downhill and straight road section I  managed to sprint back up to the lead group of perhaps 7-8 riders. Then came the second climb and I had to let the group go. At this point of the race, just a few kilometers in, I was left in no man's land for a while as I saw the small lead group ahead of me but realized that I had no way of catching them. I cut my speed, rested, and waited for the group behind to catch up.

I hadn't seen Annika Langvad up until this point in the race but when two cyclists catch up with me it's her and a young guy. They set off at a crazy pace and I held on for dear life. In spite of this we were soon caught by a larger group. As so often in the Danish races, big strong guy Jeppe Hjort was pulling everyone along. Henrik Søeberg was also in the group, and so was Thomas K-S.

This group held together for a large part of the race. On the climbs a few of us would sprint ahead and get a temporary gap, but then Jeppe would pull the rest of the group back together and we'd be some 7-8 cylists again. We caught Niels Bay Petersen after a while and he also became part of the group.

On the last lap things started happening. First World Champ, Annika, got a puncture. Next, as we came to a part which is thick with trees and branches hanging over the trail, and we were lapping backmarkers, Niels took the chance and sprinted ahead.

Just a few kilometers before the finish line Henrik Søeberg also got a bit of a gap and in the chasing group was I, Jeppe Hjort, and a young guy. On the last gravel road leading into the finish Jeppe just set a murdering pace and actually managed to catch Henrik Søeberg as he pulled us along. So the four of us finished together, with me last of the group in 11th place.

So that's the story of how I beat the (ex) World Champ (Annika Langvad)  :)

I had a little talk with Jeppe Hjort after the race and gave him kudos on how amazingly hard he can pull on the gravel roads. I was curious so I asked him about his FTP. His respone: 403W, but then I weigh 95kg!

I had to take a look back over the years at my results from this race:

Year  Time  Placing       Time behind 1st
2019  1h45m  11           5m
2018  N/A    Puncture
2017  1h56m  7            10m
2016  1h50m  12           9m
2015  N/A    Snow Storm
2014  1h47m  13           10m
2013  1h52m  24           11m