Hometown: Lienz, Austria
Rides for: Topeak-Ergon Racing Team
Up next: Marathon Worlds in October
You said at the awards ceremony that you have wanted to win this race forever. When did you first hear about Leadville? What is it about this particular race that made it a must-win for you?
I heard about the Leadville Trail 100 for the first time in 2008 when my teammate Dave Wiens won the race in front of Lance Armstrong. It's the most famous MTB endurance race in the USA.
How did you train for the race? Did you do anything different this year?
As a marathon specialist I don't have to train any differently. This race suits me really well. This year compared to last year I came one week earlier to Colorado to acclimate. I trained for one week in Breckenridge on all its lovely trails.
How did this year's race compare to last year's? What did you think of the field?
It was good that I had last year’s experience in terms of how the body reacts and feels at high altitude. This year I was able to focus more on racing and not just on surviving. I knew that Christoph Sauser would be my biggest competitor and I also knew that this was his first time doing this race. So I used my advantage and attacked on the most difficult part of the race: the Powerline climb!
You were one of the lead riders who were misdirected off course. Did that affect your mental focus at all?
After we went the wrong way shortly before the Pipeline aid station, I decided to just focus on the win and forget about the course record. That was hard because I’d already put a hard effort into that extra goal. I haven't won the Leadville race before, so after that issue, all my focus was on the victory!
You were back in the field a bit until Columbine. What was your strategy? How did the race unfold from there?
On the Columbine climb I felt very strong. Sauser was already a bit back, but I knew that it's better to not be alone heading back home. My tactic was then to attack on Powerline if I felt good. I felt great!
What was your recovery meal?
Normally I have a recovery shake, but this time my stomach didn’t feel good. I struggled to eat something right after finishing, so I had supper later on -- a proper one with soup, salad and pasta.
You wanted to set the course record. Will you be back next year to have another go at that goal?
I'll be back!