The sun had not yet really risen over the tranquil town of schondra when almost 70 athletes set off on the not quite 300-kilometer course of the rhon300 cycling marathon, which was being staged again after a one-year break. The open distances are a visual delight. Wide vistas and a varied landscape. But the constant up and down with steep ramps is a very special challenge. "The hills can demand a lot from you. One must divide the forces", female ingeborg joa, who knows rough parts of the route well as a regular guest of the rhoner kuppenritt or the whitsun event in and around bimbach. "This knowledge helps, but everyone has to fight for himself up the mountains. Of course, there will also be casual small talk in the group, traffic permitting", says the elfershauser, who actually drove through her home town at exactly kilometer 200. "At the finish i was just happy to have made it through. The exertions then fade into the background", says ingeborg joa, who is about 19.30 o’clock was back in schondra. And who, in view of the many positive impressions, hopes for even rougher starting fields in the future.
An early first agony
For the first time, the participants had to struggle in the early hours of the morning, when they set off from oberbach in the direction of gefall. Totnansberg is almost 840 meters high. On the more than three kilometer long ascent from oberbach in the direction of the iron cross, almost 300 meters of altitude had to be conquered. On the long straight in the area of the iron cross the cyclists always have the highest point in front of their eyes. What could be a curse and a blessing at the same time. As a reward, there is the more than five-kilometer-long descent to gefall with a difference in altitude of about 370 meters.
The route had to be rescheduled several times in the past weeks. The construction site in riedenberg as well as the complete new road construction between bad bruckenau and zeitlofs had to be taken into consideration. The idyllic sinn valley was therefore largely removed from the route again. "Only between riedenberg and oberbach we rode a short stretch on the brand new sinntal cycle path", reported the wildfleckener martin voigt shortly before the start. Voigt, with his 46 licenses, is one of the experienced riders in the euerdorf-based bikeworld brand team, having already competed in the legendary "trans germany" over ten years ago and is still a cyclist and mountain biker through and through.
The rhon as a low mountain range in the middle of germany has long become a center of attraction for cyclists, but it is also always somehow unpredictable with its crests, curves and winding roads. Once the black mountains were conquered, the participants made their way to the idyllic valleys of premich and schmalwasser. From there we went on to bischofsheim, where the second rest stop was to be found. The schwedenwall near gersfeld as the next rough challenge separates the bavarian from the hessian rhon.
Thuringia briefly touched
On the hessian side only a short section of the route led along, because the cyclists fell in love with the hessian rhon via frankenheim and roamed for a few kilometers the thuringian part of the biosphere reserve. Bad neustadt, bad bocklet, bad kissingen, euerdorf, aura – the saale is a constant and faithful companion at the cycling marathon.
The route continued via hammelburg, diebach and morlesau to gemunden. From burgsinn in the direction of grafendorf, the cyclists had to grit their teeth once again. The arduous ascents have it in itself namlich.
No official ranking
The final spurt led via detter, modlos, unterleichtersbach, untergeiersnest and schonderling to schondra and back to the marzgrund sports center. The two fastest riders reached the finish line after just ten hours, but an official ranking is not published. "Unfortunately we can’t do that, because in a real bike race I needed route posts from early in the morning at six o’clock until the evening hours at almost all intersections. And put a stretch post twelve hours and more in the black mountains. You’ll hardly find anyone who wants to do it there", peter baumgart makes clear. The organizer is satisfied with the relatively smooth approval process this year. Last year, there were considerably more difficulties, which ultimately led to the cancellation of the cycling marathon at short notice.
With reinhart vogler there was a highly decorated runner in the field of almost 70 cyclists, who now also proved his endurance skills in the saddle. "I got through fine, even if I rode 200 kilometers alone. The conditions and the organization were very good", looked back the oldest participant in his field, who has the next rough race in front of him with the participation in the otztaler cycling marathon on the 1st of september. September. "I ride the 238 kilometer long route with four passes and 5500 meters of altitude. Rhon300 with its 5300 meters of altitude was a perfect training", said vogler, who still trains every day and reached the finish after about eleven hours with an average of 25.5 km/h. Vogler had only taken a few bars and relatively few drinks "because that’s what I’m used to from running. But i have to drink more at the otztaler in any case to avoid cramps."
For pascal kuhne, however, the double 13 became a lucky number: after 13 hours and 13 minutes of pure driving time, the man from bad kissingen drove to the finish line at around 20 minutes.30 o’clock across the finish line. Overjoyed. "At the race premiere in 2017, I had to drop out early, this time I really wanted to do it, so I trained for two years", reported the 22-year-old, who was traveling with his father arne-kay. At least as far as hammelburg. "Then I got knee problems, but I knew that I would make it on my own. The last 20 kilometers were really hard, says the rider from team bikeworld brand, who rides his bike to work every day and naturally increased the intensity of training before rhon300. The celebration was relaxed, the next day, namely with a dinner with the family. "After the race I practically fell into bed", said pascal kuhne, who did not miss the opportunity to complete the 300 kilometers, after the race itself was about 287 kilometers long, due to minor changes in the route.
The next edition is coming
Not all of the well over 100 participants were so "crazy", by the way, to agonize over 300 kilometers in one day. Routes of 54, 110 and 186 kilometers were also offered and used. With 3200 high meters, the so-called "sud round" also had it, the second longest distance in the competition, in itself. The decisive factor, however, was that all participants reached their destination without any accidents. One reason why peter baumgart can already say "the third rhon300 cycling marathon will take place on the first weekend of august 2020.