The National Park Bike Marathon in eastern Switzerland is another classic European marathon that sits as a ‘must do’ on many riders calendars. The 138km full length route circumnavigates the Swiss National Park. It climbs from Scuol, descends to Sta Maria, then to Doss Radond and the Val Mora, before passing the Lago di Cancano, ascending Trepalle, dropping into Livigno, climbing the Chaschauna, and the final run to S-chanf and back to Scuol via Guarda. The route knocks off about 4000m climbing, and there are shorter versions starting at different points along the route.
But, with a storm forecast for Saturday and Sunday, the orgasization committee of the Nationalpark Bike-Marathon decided to drastically alter the routes based on the weather forecast. It predicts wind, cold temperatures, and rain. This would make especially the passes very dangerous, which is why all mountain bikers will have to start from S-chanf on Saturday.
The core of the organisational committee, representatives of the police, and the first aid analysed a detailed weather forecast for the route of the Bike-Marathon and decided that all participants, irrespective of the route and category they registered for, will start in S-chanf for the 47 km race. The starts in Scuol, Fuldera and Livigno are cancelled and moved to S-chanf. The reasons for this drastic measure are the cold wind, low temperatures and rains that are expected.
‘The safety of the participants as well as of the volunteers are our highest priority’, says Claudio Duschletta, president of the organisation committee. This is not a decision that the committee took lightly – ‘we understand that we will disappoint many enthusiastic mountain bikers. Our highest priority is their health and safety though, which is why we took this drastic decision’.
Two meteorologists were asked to provide a detailed model for the weather along the routes. These agreed on low temperatures, wind and rain. Such conditions brought about the cancellation of the race seven years ago, and no one wants to repeat this. ‘If the weather forecast is right – which we have to assume – then we cannot guarantee that the longer routes are safe for the bikers or for the volunteers. The forecasted fog would also make rescue flights in higher regions impossible. After 2011, we have now sadly taken the decision not to risk this’, so Claudio Duschletta.
For the sake of the safety of all participants, the race will therefore start in S-chanf for all categories this year. This change in programme brings about many logistical, organizational and communicative challenges. The planning for the transportation of all participants to S-chanf are running in the background.
So, we will tackle the shortest distance on Saturday – and see what challenges the race will bring! The full race program is available online.