Day three of the race will be a very decisive day: Enormous climbs, eg. B. the Gail Valley in East Tyrol in full heat, the Großglockner in the late afternoon, then the Gerlospass in pouring rain, in the further course still Kühtai and the Bielerhöhe - who it was not yet extreme enough, is now ample service.
The supervisors are also struggling with the conditions to steer (and back down) an RV over the Grossglockner is quite a challenge for a not so experienced driver. The routine of the past days helps the team to react in stressful situations but one or the other irritated. Here, however, shows the strength of the team: All put themselves in the service of the cause, personal sensitivities are put back.
The fitness of the riders is amazing: not only are they breaking down their two-hour intervals without burglaries, they are now considering whether to put a little more pressure on them. At still about 600-700km to the finish a difficult decision. Then it happens: During the night from day 3 to day 4, the second placed team will be overtaken. In the meantime, they had more than two hours ahead, now the team around Robert and Fritz "on the trigger" - and is suddenly from the pursuer to the hunted. After all, the other teams also drive mostly with laptops in the support vehicles and are informed via the Internet and GPS exactly about the positions of their competitors.
The laptop shows the position of the tracker.
Real racing feeling on the last day
From the original intention to "just arrive" becomes after 3 days and nights a real bicycle race, because all participants want to keep the second place to the finish in Schärding. The fatigue gives way to the claim to give everything again - the drivers screw their hourly average on the mostly flatter last sections to 30km / h and more, the supervisor work feverishly on each handle, the change succeed in record time. No one wants to rest anymore, amazing what the human body can do by a bit of "extra motivation after 3-4 days with a total of (!) About 4 8 hours of proper sleep."
However, everything does not work out smoothly: Two navigation errors cost valuable time, the tone of conversation is rougher, and the third-placed team is sitting with unsteady intervals between 15 and 45 minutes literally on the neck - they also do not give up.
Robert's buttocks are so stressed by the efforts of the last few days that only an impromptu foam padding on the saddle allows fairly painless driving. But such "trivialities" no longer interest anyone, it is driven, what the body (and the spirit) gives.
Only about 50km before the finish, the race for second place is finally decided: more than 45 minutes ahead of the competition are no longer catch up, their pace is decreasing. Happiness is spreading, there is even enough time for one or the other photo on the roadside. The caregivers speak by phone with the waiting in Schärding families from the finish line.
The families are already waiting at the finish
Celebration and award ceremony after 2, 200 km with the entire team and families.
The last few kilometers become a relaxed "Tour d'Honneuer" and finish at noon at 13: 30h after 92 hours and 49 minutes, the jubilation knows no bounds. Also on the second place you can be happy as the winner and according to the meaning of "Race Around Austria", anyone who reaches the goal, celebrated like such.
Thus, such an endurance race is not only a sporting challenge, only the experience as a team of drivers and caregivers makes it something special. It is interesting to learn how to experience physical and mental boundaries and how to deal with them together - experiences that can also be very helpful in other life situations. Maybe that's even the most valuable aspect of such a venture in the end
Part 1: Race Around Austria 2011 - The start in Schärding and the first nights