First hot prologue stage is done – finishing second with 1:01.17 race time. This was one hour full throttle and not wasting a single pedal stroke. After a quick & dirty warm up, we were set for the race and started climbing the long uphill. The first part was in Verbier and since we didn’t have any time to waste, I pushed hard like usual, making a good cross-country race start. Marco was a little afraid of overheating the first day and controlled the ride with his powermeter and heart rate – to make sure to stay in the green to yellow zone. With this pace, we were able to pass already a lot of riders and most of the teams which started in front of us.
The race went on smooth and fast, there was a long uphill trail part after leaving the paved road where it really already paid off to be on our full suspension bikes. And it even more paid off when we hit the bike park section and the steep descent back down to Verbier.
Marco’s Ibis Ripley got some special care just before race when we installed an additional Token to his RS-1 fork. We did this to make the suspension a bit more progressive and stay a little higher in travel on the steep downhill parts where the front end of the bike is loaded more due to rider weight being shifted.
Our overall strategy for this first day was simple as well: keep everything under control in the uphill so that we can hit the technical descent of the Verbier Bikepark with good concentration.
My Stumpy Evo also worked flawless and even the super tight and steep switchbacks on this quite longish 29er worked fine. With the Rockshox Pike up front, I felt safe and in control in the downhill section. Which is an important factor when hitting new trails.
Now we are taking a rest and prepare for tomorrow’s longest stage. Racing from Verbier to Leukerbad in the Alpes Bernoises on the other side of the valley of Rhône river.
For the records: Team Scott-Odlo (Schurter-Vogel) is leading, with a 47:00 racing time.