Stage Race Time again! Swiss Epic started with the Prologue today.
Andrea and Andy trained hard during the summertime, participating at marathon, XC and even DH races in order to prepare for the epic singletracks and big mountain racing in the Swiss Wallis.
Today the race started with the Prologue. The organisers put together a whole lot of fresh tracks. Big surprise – more than 75% of the trails are new, compared to the 2014 edition. Yesterday we rode the prologue course to check what to expect and which tricky parts and obstacles were built in.
At 9:31 o’clock in the morning we were sent off the ramp and entered the race here in Verbier. It was fresh outside, with a temperature of 5°C in the shadow, while the sun reached only the other side of the mountain. The track today had 780 vertical meters of climbing and 16km in total. Climbing out of town on pavement we soon hit a fireroad leading into the forest. After 30 minutes of climbing we finally hit the first flowy singletrack, still in uphill mode. Luckily the sun was out, good for the mood and the sight. Towards the end of the prologue, we hit the Verbier bikepark with cool berms, wooden ramps and steep and tight slopes. With a ride time of 1:04:52 h we finished second in our Flow category… we are pretty happy with this first day and we need to conserve a lot of energy for the stages to come.
Our weapons of choice
Andrea on his racy Ibis Ripley 130mm fullsuspension 29er. Using a Pike 140mm up front, XX1 drivetrain with 30 tooth chainring, Sram Roam 40 wheelset with fresh Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.35 trailstar compound front and Nobby Nic 2.35 pace star compound rear. Brakes are 180mm rotor Shimano XT front and rear.
Andy is racing a BMC Trailfox 29: 150mm plush rear travel with a Cane Creek Double Barrel air shock, paired to a Fox 36 150mm Boost fork. As one of the main development guys for Sram 1x Mountain drivetrain and XX1, the only choice can be – you know it already – a custom tuned XX1 drivetrain, also running a 30 tooth direct mount chainring. Custom tuned to even get a better chain management on the rough trails over here. DT Swiss Spline EX1700 wheelset with a Maxxis Highroller 2.35 up front and a Continental Mountain King 2.4 protection on the rear. Brakes are Sram Guide RS with 180mm rotors.
Not to forget one of the best dropper seatposts on the market: YEP uptimizer – smoothest action and fantastic remote lever – this product is designed and build by Andrea himself, who is the engineer and man behind the YEP seatpost. You got to ride this dropper post to see how poor some others are working, haha.
So far from Verbier.
We got to run for the ceremonies now, video will follow soon.