Niall and Gareth Davis competed in the famous Swiss Epic stage race aboard their Vitus Rapide CRX bikes. Hear from Garreth first hand how they got on!
“There are few words to accurately describe the Swiss Epic, yet to say the 5-day mountain bike stage race in the Swiss Alps is a challenge would certainly be an understatement. 300 2-person teams ride 350km and climb 12,000m over the 5 stages. The terrain is varied between tarmac roads, forest double tracks, and a good deal technical Alpine single trails including some descents of 30 minutes or more. From loose, rooty, and extremely steep switchback climbs, rough bike park descents, to the most pristine, high-speed Alpine flow trails the Epic really has it all."
“This year myself and Niall from Team Biking.ie/Vitus decided to take the challenge on. Initially, our goal was one of pure survival and not finish too far down the rankings. Stage 1 from Davos to St.Moritz (86km, 2,800m) was certainly an eye-opener for us. We finished the first stage 30th in our category and 44th in the general classification. Riding at high altitude and in thin air (circa 2,500m) also presented a challenge. The majority of riders were veteran local Swiss riders, followed by the likes of the Swedes, Italians, and so on."
“As the days wore on we found ourselves settling more and more into a rhythm. Between the towns of St.Moritz, Lenzerheide, and Davos the landscape and riding were mind-blowingly stunning, so it was at times difficult to focus on the trail ahead! Gradually we became more tactical and planned the stages out more clearly. Over the next few days we worked well together and started to ascend the ranks. As the only riders on hardtails, we were obliged to tread lightly on the rough, rocky, unpredictable, and undulating terrain. Riding smoothly and putting our trust in our well-equipped Vitus Rapide racing machines we completed the 5 grueling days without any major injuries, crashes, or punctures."
“A heavy sense of relief and delighted filled the thin air as we finished the 5th and final stage by descending into Davos. After 20 hours of demanding but thoroughly epic and rewarding riding we finished 27th in our category and 33rd in general classification our of 300 teams, just a few places behind legendary Swiss cross country Olympic medalist Thomas Frischknecht."