The Bikingman Corsica was a nice experience. Starting and finishing in Bastia the route covered 720 km of riding anti clockwise around the island. As a novice ultra-athlete, I was not sure of how I would endure the long distance and riding through the night and accumulating fatigue from riding, but also from lack of sleep. It went fine.
The Corsica course was partitioned in four segments of 200-154 km with obligatory checkpoints for stamp/signatures on the individual map and for food and pep talk. The first and second segment was through the center of the island in the mountains. It was beautiful riding on nice roads with scenic views. The “loose end” on the map was a re-route as the road was closed for work. A detour over a mountain pass at almost 1300 altitude meters happened instead. I didn’t mind as climbing is my thing.
The legs worked fine but since I got early to the first checkpoint after 200 k of riding I didn’t get any food there. I also missed on filling the water bottles and getting something else to eat from local stores, so I started to feel a bit dehydrated after a while. I did the first 9 h of riding with a fluid intake of approximately 2 liters but after a quick stop at a locale Spar I refueled, and then felt more comfortable with the situation. I later had some GPS-trouble; finding satellites, charging the garmin from a power bank, navigating and riding at the same time which made me unnecessary slow on the road but after the last downhill in the dark and in light rain I made it to checkpoint #2 for “dinner”.
Fearing what the night will bring
Riding through the night started in strong winds and rain along the west coast of Corsica. It was comfortable temperatures through the night except from freezing on the decents. As a novice in riding in the dark I brought a second lamp with extremely low battery power with me and the spare batteries were no good (!) and there were no night open petrol stations where I could by new ones. Basically, this meant that I was stuck with my solid and good primary front light source that usually can deliver over 3 hours of light – for estimated 6-7 hours of riding in the dark. The applied strategy was to use the light on the descents and riding in the moonlight when possible and with the front light turned off. By luck or maybe smart planning from the organizers, the roads were quite suitable for this and I pushed on to reach checkpoint 3 just before sunrise.
The winning bike with the official sausages of victory and uneaten food still taped to the frame
The last 6 hours of riding to the finish started in a beautiful landscape at sunrise. By now I had started to develop serious sourness from sitting in the saddle and the legs was quite tiered. Although the coastal roads were beautiful I could not enjoy the views as much I had wanted, and the power output was quite affected by this. The countdown of distance to Bastia went really slow but although affected by the many hours on the bike, it felt good in the tailwind the last 30 k to Bastia.
Arriving at the square in Bastia was a nice moment. The traffic was quite intense, so I was glad that it ended up in a sprint finish. I had been in the lead of the race for approximately 26 hours and could finally step of the bike and have well deserved beer and a massage. Many thanks to Bikingman organization for a terrific race course. This one will be remembered for life!
Summarized power data from the race. Due to some missing gps-recording the data is not completely 100% accurate. But with an official time of 29 hour 35 minutes I had maybe 1 hour 25 minutes in non-riding time at checkpoints and fiddling with equipment. That means at least 30 easy minutes of time to save in the future with experience gained from this race.
Edit 11/5: The final leaderboard have now been made public. The detour because of to the closed road only affected the first part of the field, and this was corrected in the leaderboard with a time reduction of two hour.
- Mikael Flockhart, Sweden, solo male 27h35min* (AT)
- Dejan Jug, Slovenia, solo male 30h06min* (AT)
- Michael Knudsen, Denmark, solo male 31h59min* (AT)
- Marco Beligni, Italy, solo male 33h23min* (AT)
- Michelangelo Pacifico, Italy, solo male 34h16min* (AT)
- Xavier Massart, Belgium, solo male 36h05min* (AT)
- Dieter Schietse, Belgium, solo male 36h46min
- Jan Tubeeckx, Belgium, solo male 37h47min* (AT)
- Matteo Repetto, Italy, solo male 38h24min* (AT)
- Ivana Furlan, Italy, solo female 38h24min* (AT)
Photocred: Andreas Fabricius