The O-Tour takes place from a village called Alpnach, a little way outside Lucerne in German-speaking Switzerland. It’s a pretty straightforward-looking course profile – big climb, descent, bit of flat, another climb, into the finish. And there is no messing about at the start – the climb ramps up pretty much straight out of the village, looking out across a beautiful valley. First on tarmac, then eventually on stony singletrack, before the traditional schotter descent. The second climb then heads out of the other side of the valley, before a finish alongside the river in the village.
The full marathon is 86km, but there is also a 45km half-marathon and even a 37km Easymarathon (surely a contradiction? Never mind…).
Last year’s men’s winner Lukas Buchli will have a stern test this time round in the shape of world marathon champion Christoph Sauser. The women’s event last year was won by Jane Nuessli.
As well as being part of the international UCI marathon series, the O-Tour is also part of the IXS Swiss Bike Classic, the six-race national marathon series.
More information here – http://www.o-tour.ch/cont/eng/
The MarathonMTB.com view
As a team, we’ve been to a number of the UCI marathon series events. This one is a bit different to some of them. For one thing the whole event is a bit smaller; I’m sure it has ambitions to grow, but at more like a thousand participants, it has a bit of a different feel to something like the http://marathonm.wpengine.com/2012/07/09/stu-spies-blog-rebuild/, with its many thousands of riders. I found last year that that resulted in a rather more friendly feel – it felt as if the post-race pasta party included a large proportion of the people at the event, which I liked.
And there’s also a family feel – lots of kids, with their own events as well.
http://marathonm.wpengine.com/2012/09/10/buchli-and-nuessli-take-the-o-tour/ didn’t quite go according to plan for us, so there’s unfinished business to attend to. Stay tuned!