Like previous years, we travelled south two days before the start to get some acclimatisation.
Our new driver Bart Kirkels, Erwin Declercq and Sara Michielsens and myself were travelling by camper to get to Imst (Austria).
Almost all stage locations were known to us, either from winter holidays or from other previous Transalp participations.
Because 2015 was a DNF for Sara due to her ugly crash at the third stage; this one had to be a good one.
Before the race we said that a top 10 classification in the mixed category would be great but hardly manageable with all those top riders at the start.
From previous years we learned that there are two categories in the mixed (well not quite officially, but off the record). First there are the couples who push and pull from start to finish. I call them 'Individual racers with luggage'. And on the other side there are the couples who both ride individually but still stay together during the whole race. Those I call 'The Jedi warriors"...
It is permitted, so this is all I can say on this topic.
Day 1 would be a tough stage for us. Lots of asphalt roads, and not too technical to start with. In combination with sore legs from my side (Sara was strong right from the start) this stage could not please me, and with a 16th place in the GC, I would take lots more to see me smile this week.
The stages afterwards were more technical, and bit by bit we managed every day to ride approximately the same pace without really pushing and shift up places in GC.
At the sixth day Sara decided she had enough of riding and crashed in the last Km on concrete road.
Result: a really awkward open knee with her skin still glued to the road.
My brains were going bananas, as I thought she would not be able to ride anymore. Second Transalp in a row DNF for Sara?
That girl is a gorilla, a cheetah and a Jedi warrior all in one.
With 10 stitches in her left knee she rode like hell on the last stage, and we finished the Bike Transalp 2016 in style.
Once more we've met some great people, were thrilled to ride between the pros, and would like to thank all the people who supported us before, during and after the race.
It has to be said that after each participation, we're not jumping to do this one again, but I'm pretty sure when the accreditation date will get closer, our minds will be pointing at the Alps once again.
The crew from Crankbrothers to provide us with the best bike parts imaginable.
Canyon Bikes for delivering a frame made for this kind of races. CANYON EXCEED CF SLX rules.
No Drugs Heroes custom cycling wear.
Overstims, Fizik, Roeckl.