• Dawn Barnable

The BikingWomen of Corsica: Anne Wursthorn

The last edition of BikingMan Corsica, a 700km/13,000m self supported ultra cycling race took place in April 2019, starting a year ago today. Due to the current global pandemic, the 2020 edition, which was supposed to be underway at the time of publishing, has been postponed. To relive the magic of the 2019 edition, we’re taking a look back at the 8 women who competed, and successfully completed, this painfully beautiful race.

The Facts:

  • Name: Anne Wursthorn

  • Age at race time: 28

  • Nationality: German

  • Profession: PhD student in Radiobiology

  • BikingMan Corsica as a pair with her boyfriend, Reinhard

  • Found on IG as @reini_anne

The Background:

One of the more experienced among the BikingWomen, the Corsican race was Anne Wusthorn’s third BikingMan Ultra, having completed both BikingMan Corsica and BikingMan Taiwan in 2018 as a pair with her partner Reinhard, taking second place overall in the 2018 series. Having fallen in love with the mountain in the sea, the 2019 race proved to have new challenges. They finished as the 6th pair in 68 hours.

Why BikingMan Corsica?

We signed up for BikingMan Corsica in December 2018. Just few days before, we got the great news that we had secured second place in the pair category of overall ranking in the 2018 BikingMan series and with it, we won three starting places for the 2019 series. Corsica was the first race we signed up for. The year before, we felt in love with the lonely streets and the beautiful landscape of the island.

Tell us about your training for the race.

Since BikingMan Corsica takes place end of April, my training started during the Winter. From January to March, I went 2x per week to indoor cycling classes. In February, we went for our first bike tour in 2019 and we tried to have a ride on Saturdays and Sundays. But when the temperature dropped below 5°C, I realized that it gets too cold for me after 2 hours on the bike. In March, when temperatures were rising, and our weekend bike tours got longer up to 4-5 hours. In addition, I started to commute to work about twice per week - 21 km each way. 3 weeks before the race, we tested our equipment, bike set-up and our fitness on a 330 km ride over two days.

Thoughts on the start line?

On the start line I was pretty much worried about my bike. This was because on the morning of the race I realized that my bike has a flat tire. I had to change the inner tube just 40 minutes before the start using my spare inner tube. I was angry with myself and I hoped not to have any punctures during the race, since I already used my spare tube. Unfortunately, I had three more punctures and a destroyed tire.

What was your race strategy, and did you follow it?

On the start line we were still discussing about our race strategy. Shall we sleep as little as possible and try to compete with other pairs? Or shall we enjoy our one-week vacation after 6 months of hard work, stop for good food and have some hours of sleep during the night?

In the end, we did both. The first day we started relaxed having our first croissant and coffee stop just 20 km after the start line. We stayed at checkpoint 1 for 7 hours of sleep. The next morning, we checked the GPS-position of other riders and we saw that the majority went beyond Checkpoint 1. It was then that our ambitions awakened, and we decided to reduce our coffee stops in order to try and catch some other riders.

What was the most challenging aspect of the race for you?

On the second day, after 300 km, Reinhard suggested to ride nonstop to the finish line. First, I liked the idea and I was excited, since I never rode all night long before. But a few hours later I had some doubts. What happens if we run out of food? Do we have enough warm clothes? Maybe I’ll get tired and I’ll need sleep, but where shall we go in the middle of the night? Suddenly the idea of riding 500 km non-stop scared me and I convinced Reinhard to stop in a hotel for the night. In contrast to him, I was not prepared mentally for a night ride, but next time I will be!

What was the most enjoyable aspect of the race?

To share the experience on the road, the ups and downs, the pain and the joy with Reinhard. I think nobody really understand what ultra distance cyclers go through and I am pleased to share this experience with him during and beyond each race.

What advice would you give someone thinking about doing an ultra cycling race?

Sign up first and then think about how to manage this adventure. You will never be prepared enough.

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