November 18, 2017

Epic & Exciting: Team Gore Rouleurs at the Tour de Friends 2017

4 days of cycling. 600 km. From Munich to Venice.

Laughing together, fighting together, challenging and supporting each other. Having a great adventure. This made it a trip of a lifetime.

It’s close to a month now since I crossed the finish line in Jesolo, Italy. Together with my four team mates and 400 others cyclists we rode the 1st edition of the Rad Race Tour de Friends. It was a fun group ride through the Alps and Dolomites. Great personalities and endless amazing roads.

Team Gore Rouleurs – What did I sign up for?

I would be lying if I said I was not nervous before the race. I love cycling, but I am not into competing at all. Even more so – I felt like I was not able to train as much as planned– or should I rather say – not at all. I had just got back from my parental leave. After a 12-week road trip through Scandinavia with my family. Lots of hiking, outdoor all day, an awesome time, but unfortunately zero cycling.
And I knew this moment would come and it was now real: Team Meeting, gathering in the office – talking about bikes, food, and for sure apparel. Then, the next morning – I was part of the Team Gore Rouleurs standing at the start in Munich along with four other GORE BIKE WEAR® Associates from three different countries. Colleagues and friends with one shared passion for this sport and a soon-to-be even bigger bond.
Looking back now – I can say – the juice was worth the squeeze.

My Queen Stage: 195km. 1800 Meters. Continuous Rain. Single-Digit temperature range.

Thanks to the help of my great teammates I managed the first two days from Munich, Gemany to Brixen, Italy pretty well and my self-confidence, form, and shape was growing on a daily basis.
Nevertheless there was day three. Every tour has a stage that stands out for its difficulty and drama – the so-called “Queen stage”. This year it was from Brixen to Vittorio Veneto, Italy. Riding through the Dolomites, a mountain range in the northern Italian Alps.
And frankly speaking, I will not forget stage three as it was an unbelievable experience due to many different aspects:

  • It was the longest stage with over 190km riding, after already having ridden two days. I am glad we took the first few days pretty easy, with great support of my fantastic teammates. Cheers Guys.
  • The weather: As you can imagine, as a team, we had been discussing how the weather would be, what clothing to wear as well as its impact on our strategy. To be honest it turned out like the cherry on top of a large ice cream – like the perfect script for an awesome movie. A perfect GORE-TEX® day!
    The majority of time we rode in wet and chilly conditions. For me personally, it was quite demanding, however unbelievable satisfying. I know this sounds strange and a lot of marketing talk, but feeling the performance of our products and seeing our product promise come alive made me very proud and confident. I did not worry too much about my clothing and gear, rather focused on my personal performance, keeping up with the pack and enjoying the scenery, as much as this was possible. Sadly, we did not get to see too much of the stunning dolomites – weather was just not our friend here. To add to this – so many riders wearing our products – from overshoes to gloves and helmet caps and for sure our latest innovation: GORE-TEX® SHAKEDRY™ jackets. Last but not least – the last third of the stage – sunshine, smiling people and Italian spirit. Nothing to add here.
  • Who is the pack? What have their biggest moments been?

    I am confident in saying that my personal Tour de Friends experience would not have been possible and only half the fun without my amazing teammates. A mix of talent, as diverse as the working culture at Gore that we are proud of. Sales Associates from France (Ludovic), Germany (Tobias), Italy (Walter), and a German office mate accountable for product marketing (Patric). Of them all I know Patric the most as we commute regularly to work together. All others – I have not been riding with, but I am impressed and still proud to be part of the team.

    Tobias

    “Well… I knew that it was going to be a tough one and the time was very short to recover. Luckily I learned a lot about my body in the past, what it can cope with and when it’s better time to step back and rest. Of course I didn’t have the “final punch” and felt that the last percentages were missing. But with every stage I felt better and better. Just to be safe I was always wearing a beanie and a scarf that helped me not to cool down and expose myself to the elements to much. To be honest: I have never valued the performance and protection of our apparel more than in these four days. Right now I am still coughing a bit but already enjoyed the first rides on my new CX bike, so it’s not too bad. Looking back, I am glad I joined as I don’t want to miss any second of this epic event with all these unique moments and memories.”

    Ludovic from France who is mainly known for his mountain biking and I think has never ridden a road bike before. Is this true Ludo?

    “It’s not completely true that I have never been on road bike before. The last 6 years I’ve spent 100% on my MTB. But since 6 months I know that I’ll be part of our Team, so I bought a road bike and I decided to mix my training. It’s true that I have never cycled more than 80km a day. Four days with three stages over 120 km was a challenge. But I discovered something really interesting. Road cycling is really fun but even more this is a perfect tool to improve my MTB skills. After the Tour de Friends my physical condition is much better than before. So definitely I will use my road bike for preparing the next long Enduro Races.“

    As said earlier – I know Patric very well – appreciate his capabilities, skills and experiences – in particular riding in larger groups. So Patric, how did we as team work together over these four days?

    “As we have never cycled in this group constellation it was more a question of trust rather than performance… The evening before the race we all agreed to do this as a group ride and to follow the RAD RACE idea of having a great time together with friends – so no racing.
    This turned out to be the right decision- we took it slowly and enjoyed the roads, the scenery, each other. Fixing 1-4 flat tires per day because of the gravel parts of the course, having one or two even longer Espresso (or a beer) breaks. Doing some photo shooting session for our social media channels, chatting with other participants at the check points quickly gave us a the right feeling. No pressure – just pure cycling. This turned out to be the right decisions and we all grew together during the 4 days.”

    Walter, what do you think about this event? Your tactical coaching on stage three helped us to big time. Can you recount the day?

    “First and foremost – Tour de Friends was a true epic experience! A great opportunity to test and enjoy the performance of our technologies!
    Thinking back about stage 3 – Given the distance and the elevation my focus was “preserve legs, appropriate nutrition and hydration” as classically you would approach the queen stage of any tour. And, my task to Patric: Go and get us to this group in front of us. Cycling in the larger peloton was so much more efficient.
    However, due to the weather forecast my first priority became protection against the elements. It could have been a serious issue being caught unprepared on the queen stage.”

    Promise kept: Rad Race Tour de Friends.

    “The Rad Race Tour de Friends 2017” will be a mixture of stage ride, Long distance alley cat and group ride. And at the end of the trip you will say, these were some of the best 4 days in my life!” We promise!

    Looking back now, I can only echo what I have quoted of the “RAD RACE team”
    It was very inspiring, as well as rewarding, to be part of this experience we all had at RAD RACE Tour de Friends. I still feel a motivational boost coming back to the office and sharing the appreciation across all colleagues, friends and family. It has been the perfect payback for all the hard and dedicated work we do. To sum it up: Bad weather always looks worse through a window & I like people who smile when it’s raining!

    My favorite products

    ONE GORE-TEX® SHAKEDRY™ Jacket

    It’s super lightweight, fits without bulk in my jersey pocket, and offers great wind protection on any downhill segments and an unbelievable experience and comfort in the rain. The face fabric (or should I rather say the lack of a face fabric) is just brilliant. The jacket did not get heavy, soaking wet and clammy overtime – it just did not convert into a sponge and the water was just beading off. My torso was greatly covered while not overheating. One word summary: Game changer.

    CANYON ENDURACE

    The CANYON ENDURACE: for the very first time I have had the chance to ride this toy at TdF. I cannot express my appreciation enough. Super-fast and solid across the various roads with incomparable comfort – from gravel to tarmac. Wet or Dry. In particular the disk brakes were just phenomenal riding in the group and the wet descents.
    Now, you better watch the official after movie of the RAD RACE “Tour de Friends!” 2017.

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