For those who don’t know the event: Schlaflos is a night endurance race in Weidenthal, Germany.
But more important it is not just your typical race, it is a full weekend experience!
It’s a few days filled with mountainbikes, fun people, love, party, beer and happiness. Weidenthal is not a place of hate nor frustration, it is a peaceful quiet place where nothing but lovely and friendly bikers meet once a year.
Even though SiS is not a Single Speed only event, it is embraced by many Single Speeders. Christian Krämer, the padre familias of SiS, is a big fan and supporter of Single Speed and a well known and loved legend in the European SS scene since many years.
As from thursday the first people start arriving at the site.
The campground is situated on a track in between the forest and mountains of Weidenthal.
Since we all have jobs and wives team SS Belgium (containing 1 Dutch, 2 English, 1 geared and 3 SS Belgians; so far the logics of our team) arrives on friday, we put up our tents and have a beer and chat with many who already arrived and will arrive later on the day.
One of the most important things at SiS is the friday night party!
An evening filled with live (rock) music and drinking loads of beer.
It is here that some keep on partying until the next morning before they (hardly) find the way to their tents…
Since some say “what happens in Weidenthal, stays in Weidenthal”, we shall not go any further into this matter.
On saturday the atmosphere feels like if you are on a summer festival. The sun is shining, some are doing a nap to prepare themselves for the nightrace to come, some are having a hangover from the great party the night before, some go out riding bikes,… During the day most take time to chat some more, there is also a Single Speed event with a beer fountain and riding up a long hill to throw you down the other side of that hill again.
SiS legend “Kalle” is representing Les FlamandSS colors at the SS event. I can only assume Kalle won (since he is a flesh made cycling machine), so we did take home kind of a shared trophy…
Unlike many other cycling events SiS has a lot of wives, girls and kids to enjoy the atmosphere.
Most of the kids who come over enter the kids race and feel like little Peter Sagan’s for a moment.
After that some of the night riders take time to do a lap on the track to be prepared for what’s about to come at night.
During the rest of the day, you mainly just kill time hardly doing anything but having fun at that same time.
When night falls everybody starts to prepare themselves for the main course: Racing from dusk till dawn!
Some enter in teams, others ride solo. It is said that if you ride solo, you shall do this on a Single Speed bike. If you realise that one lap is aprox 13 km and has around 280 climbing meters, you can imagine everybody will be very happy when the sun finally rises again.
The track has one big long and steep gravel climb, some sandy and rooty intermezzo parts to keep you awake and a steep long downhill to finish. I can assure you: doing this lap on a rigid single speed bike might not be the smartest thing to do, but it does make you feel alive!
Many people from the village come to the racetrack to chear for the riders. Even when night falls some locals start a campfire and keep on cheering for us bikers.
At the campground a DJ shall make sure there is not 1 minute of silence in between the start and finish. At the pits there is a huge amount of love and good atmosphere present. Even though some start to think why in hell they entered this race, there are hardly any sad faces to spot.
After an amazing 14 laps in the dark, our Dutch neighbour Harold (an immortal SSCX machine) crosses the finish line as first soloist and gets threated to a proper beer shower by the Dutch Single Speed crew. Many, many respect for this achievement!
After the race there is hardly time to rest, everybody starts packing and hits the road home to have a proper shower and good night sleep.
We all love you Phaty, thanks for organising one of the best mountainbike events in the world!
Cheers, team Les FlamandSS.
1 a drone; 2, 3 & 7 Bram Impens; 4, 5 & 6 Achim Walther; 8 Pieter d’Haens; 9 & 10 Zombiker Dave.
BlahBlahBlah by Zombiker Dave