Specialized Racing's Christoph Sauser successfully defended his Swiss marathon national championship title on Sunday at the Elsa Bike Trophy in the town of Estavayer-le-Lac. What made his win even more impressive was that it came on his fifth consecutive day of racing, one day after he'd won the Bike Four Peaks mountain bike stage race in Germany and Austria.
"I won my fourth race in five days. I'm having an incredible time racing," said Sauser, who won three of the four stages and the overall title at the Bike Four Peaks.
Immediately after winning the Bike Four Peaks on Saturday, Sauser headed to Munich, where he caught a flight to Zurich. Another two-hour drive followed, and he made it to his destination at midnight on the eve of the Swiss championships.
On race morning Sunday, Sauser got up, assembled his bike, and got ready to race.
"It started to rain at the start. The soil there is super slippery, and there was a bit of chaos at the beginning, with lots and lots of slippery turns," said Sauser according to iamspecialized.com. "We also had to run."
"With my not-so-fresh legs, I missed the break of a two guys," he said. "I fought my way back. Hansueli Stauffer, who is also from my village of Sigriswil, was off the front, with a lead of about one minute and 15 seconds."
Sauser caught up to another rider from the break, cyclo-cross star Julien Taramarcaz, and the two chased Stauffer together until Sauser dropped him on the climbs and continued a solo pursuit of Stauffer.
"Only in the last 15 minutes could I close down the last minute to Hans," said Sauser. "Just 200m before the finish, I passed him. He was very tired and couldn't react anymore."
Sauser crossed the line in 2:28:22, just three seconds ahead of runner-up Stauffer.
"It was a sweet win to defend my title. It's a traditional race - I raced here for the first time in 1993, my first year as a junior. It's a beautiful town with the Lake Neuch‚tel."
After five days in a row of racing, Sauser was looking forward to the one-hour drive home where he could get back to sleeping in his own bed again.
Sauser will contest the UCI Marathon World Championships at the end of June. He won the marathon world title in 2007 and 2011.