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Ziener BIke Festival Riva del Garda 2015




MTB Marathon


Riva del Garda/Germany


The race as a whole:


The catering:


The fitness level:


The technical level:



This was my second visit to the Riva del Garda bike festival and once again I was riding the Ronda Extrema 94km 3813m of climbing. This year I was riding my new 11 speed 29er which with its lower gearing should make the climbs a little easier. The course has steep climbs and technical descents which are made more difficult by damp conditions.

The weather on the day of the race was very good and I had no need for extra layers of clothing for the 0730 start. This year I was lucky enough to start in Block one which would hopefully give me a clearer run at the downhill sections. I'm an average climber and descending is where I make up my placings.

The start takes you along closed roads for about 5km before ramping up steeply through the vinyards and although the next 5km are not off road and technical you have to stay focused and hold your line as there are so many riders around you, one touch of wheels and you'll find it difficult to get going again.

With the new bike I managed to ride all of the steep concreted sections and wasn't held up too much on the technical descents. The race is made all the tougher by the lack of recovery after the climbing because of the difficulty of the descents. It's not often you have sore hands after an event, but the pulling on the bars climbing and the grip to hold on through the tricky descents have many riders shaking the tension out of their hands when they reach the bottom.

It was such a relief to reach the top of the final climb and descend through the grape vines once again, unfortunately due to a front mech problem sustained on the final rocky descent I couldn't get into the big chain ring and lost a few places.

All in all I was very satisfied with my performance riding 27 minutes quicker than last year.

I can highly recommend attending the event. There are 4 distances to choose from, but if you're technical riding isn't good you might find it too hard, my wife reported that many riders crossed the line before me with bloodied elbow and knees.

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