Marko Baloh

Marko is the King of the RAAM’13 Prairies!

King and Queen of the Prairies awards were given to Male and Female Solo racers based on the shortest time/fastest average speed between three flat sections: TS 2 to TS 3 (Brawley to Blythe); TS 25 to TS 26 (Greensburg to Pratt); and TS 36 to TS 37 (Greenville to Effingham).

King of the Plains goes to Marko Baloh (Slovenia) who posted 8h:53m over those 3 sections, 6 minutes ahead of Schoch who came in second. Dani Wyss (Switzerland) came in 3rd with 9h:43m and Gerhard Gulewicz (Austria) 4th with 9h:55m.

Considering this year’s competitors at RAAM, I am more of an underdog, waiting for the favorites to crack. It suits me really, as it lowers the pressure on me and gives me a chance to race my own race, without looking what other favorites do. If everything goes according to plan, I am sure the result under 9 days is in my legs and with a bit of luck, I could get much closer to 8 days, which will be neccessary to fulfil my dream of winning the toughest race in the World – RAAM! So the seventh RAAM is behind me, and the fifth successful finish, which ranks me high on the list of riders who have more than once finished RAAM. Of course, the legends at the top of the list remain Robi Kish with 19 (!) RAAMs, Jure with seven, Fasching and Chew with eight and so on. So, there are not many with enough will, strength, energy and endurance to do the toughest race in the world several times.
The last 200 km was taking forever, as always with the difference that this time I remember all the details of the race, as in the earlier years I can only remember a detail here and there. The decision of the three-hour sleep has thus proved to be excellent, but unfortunately we will never know what would it actually mean if my fitness was as high as it was one month before the race, at RAS.

In the end, I can’t finish without mentioning the superb race by Cristoph Strasser, who was a shoulder above the competition, and with time 7days 22 hours set a new milestone in ultra-cycling. Remarkable result that will probably defy time as long as the previous Penseyres’ record (from1985 to 2013). Hats off and congratulations to Cristoph!
Congratulations also to Dani and Reto for second and third place, Mark for the fourth and also to all riders who have successfully finished this year’s RAAM. Every finisher is a winner!
Marko Baloh

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