|By: Rob Howard|
Photos: Andreas Strand
In the past month the AR World Series has taken teams to North America and Europe for the first time in 2012 as part of a schedule which spans 5 continents in 11 races. In races 6 and 7 of this year’s World Series the venues were the majestic high Alps of Switzerland at the APEX Race and the rugged backcountry of Maine for The Untamed New England adventure race.
The APEX (Alpine Expedition) Race was first, taking place from June 5th-10th in the Swiss Alps and any teams returning after last year’s inaugural race were under no illusions – it’s a tough place to race. Extreme elevation and the likelihood of extreme mountain weather make the Alps a unique challenge and the course set by Race Director Staffan Kallback and his team in the Berner Oberland delivered both.
Of the 18 teams who set off only 6 managed to complete the full route and 3 of these were from Sweden. A strong Swedish challenge was expected from the FJS, Sweco and Silva teams and they maintained their reputation for consistent high level performance, but last year’s winners, Team Silva, were unable to hold on to their race title. They gave it all they had in a titanic struggle with ‘Team Imboden Bike – R’ADYS’ who were second last year – but this time the Swiss team managed to reverse the result and take their first major race win.
Swiss Roll to a First World Series Win
The team is led by Bernhard Hug and had a new line up after last year. Andrea Huser, a former MTB Marathon World champion stayed with the team and experienced campaigners Jan Beguin and Marc Pschebizin (Germany) were recruited to try and win the race.
Hug explained their thinking; “After our 2nd place last year I had to find two new men for the team because they have focused this year on other sports. The Apex race with its really hard running stages (with a total of approx 13,000m elevation gain and loss) so you can only do it if you like to run downhill and can master the discomfort of sore muscles, joints and feet that come with it.
“So it was not easy to find two other strong guys. Andrea was set. She is just amazing and made for these sort of races. So by the end of last year I had convinced Jan and Marc to join the team and try to win the race ... “
He added; “Our preparation was not very long. We only met once before the race for a short training session and we discussed everything else by email and phone. We could risk this "non professional" preparation because we've all known each other from other races.”
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