By Fritz Ferner
Uh what a day! My first fixed42. My feeling was quite nervous the hours before the race, because there are so many legends about fixed42. But I decided to check the truth by my own. Four starters for the Canyon RADPACK: John, Tami, me and as guest rider, Julian Biefang project manager at Canyon bicycles and rider from embrace the world who wanted to ride his first fixedgear race of his life.
So, we lined up at the starting grid, pretty early, 45min before the start to stand in the second row. Finally, the race starts 3 -2 -1 kickit. he “neutralized” phase wasn´t that neutralized, the leading car paced right from the beginning pretty fast, so the whole peloton did this as well.
Our plan was, just ride as safe as possible, and arrive the finish line in one piece, with no ugly holes in our nice 2018 team kit. I decided to go the safest way on the autobahn, and ride as much as possible from the front, with my own pace. Every time I went back farer in the back of the peloton I felt quite uncomfortable, the whole peloton went from the left to the ride, fighting for positioning all the time. Attacks all the time, sometimes with John, Julian Biefang or me, sometimes not. But at this part of the race it was unlikely that a single person or a small group of two or three riders came through, so we just let them do their thing. Arriving berlin city center, we passing through the streets on our way to Tempelhoferfeld, I knew that this part is always a key section. I went in the narrow corner a little bit to far in the back of the field. But went safe up to the field, but on the field itself, single row, and strong sidewinds from the front. The field spreads in different parts, I had to suffer hard to jump as last rider in to first group, but with the knowledge “this could be the winning group” I flighted hard not to get dropped. The race goes on, and a few minutes later unfortunately a group from the back matched up with us again. In the following kilometres one situation should be mentioned, where we went in to a left turn right in front of the Watergate club to fast, where we just were able to avoid a crash. A new group built up in the front, with strong riders from different teams in it. I put all I had again into it and tried to jumped over to them, but they already had a few hundred meters gap. With two other guys on my back wheel I managed to close the gap. A few seconds of breathing, I checked the group, perfect, big names around me, Vigano, JoJo from messpack, Nico Hesslich, Matteo Cecchini, Francesco Martucci and Tobi Höchner. Nico went out of the lead, and the italiens just followed with a short lead. I went directly from the back to the front, knowing that now we have to go fast to make the gap bigger, pushing all the watts I had left, without going allin. On a right turn with 10km togo, a dangerous situation caused by the leading motorcycles who slowed down right in the turn. Me on first position with Nico Hesslich on my back wheel went through between the motorcycles avoiding a crash. The others of the group had to break down harder to avoiding a crash. Nico went into the lead with all his power, shouting at us that we can make it. After my lead I realized that only Nico and I were left. With knowing that the podium is not that far away, I pushed hard but realized on Nicos back wheel that he has more power left. So, I had to let him go and tried to find my own pace, there was still a big gap to the chasing group. I kept on pushing! On the last three kilometres two Italian guys jumped over to me, so we were a group of three, but all of us with empty legs. Than endless 2 last kilometres followed, I didn´t know the track, so I thought I am already on the final straight, but in between there came another one and after that finally the Brandenburgertor appears but still far far away. Than I speed up again a little bit with my last power left, to pass through the green flamme rouge, but after a last view over my shoulder I realized that the chasing group will catch us. I went to the side to let the sprint of about 50 riders passing through. Luckily, I was able to avoid another hard crash in the sprint, so I came in at position 55 after the first group. Everything was more than I expected so I should be totally happy to mess up with the big boys. But looking back to what really happened and how near the podium was, I am a little bit disappointed about the result. But I had my tv time. Thanks RADRACE for this great event and congrats to Nico from 8bar team , deserved winner!