5 Days. 350km in distance. 12,000m climbing, 12,000 downhill.
That’s exactly what Banbridge CC’s Johnny McRoberts and Gareth McKee took on when they signed up for the 2022 Spar Swiss Epic which explores the trails of Graubünden, traversing the Apls from Arosa to Laax before concluding in the race village of Davos.
If the photos are anything to go by, it did exactly what it said on the tin; Epic by name, epic by nature! Congratulations to both lads in completing such an endeavour.
Multiple Irish National Elite MTB XC and MTB Marathon Champion, Gareth McKee, said;
“The trails around the area were brilliant. A mix of natural, manmade flow trails and fast open sections. The climbing sections where really long and steep both on and off-road. Some were so steep in places you had to push the bike!”
“The views were spectacular on the first few days, with blue skies and sunshine, however the weather changed on day 4. Rain arrived on the 100km stage, where we rode from Laax and Davos. This suited us OK, being used to the rain in Ireland. “
“The Epic was like no race I have ever done before. Being a stage race where you had to compete as a pair meant that to perform at our best we had to work together as a team at all times. To make it through each stage we focused on our strengths and managed our weaknesses, trying to be as efficient as possible. Johnny suffered the first few days with the altitude, but as the week went on he kept getting stronger and stronger. We moved from 57th in the men’s category on the first stage to 53rd after the 5th and final stage.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, conquering the Alps alongside my friend Johnny.”
Johnny McRoberts was equally praising of the event and the experience it gave them;
“To be involved in such a prestigious event, representing your club, riding alongside and involved in a professional peloton was fantastic. This really challenged both us and our equipment to a level we had never been before – both physically and mentally.”
“We were great friends before the event, but it created such a bond where we had to challenge each other to not give up, and finish together as a team. It was an experience that rewarded you with a lifetime achievement, finishing an ’Epic series event’ and enhancing skills that can make you a better person to take on anything in life.”
“We also gained the opportunity to be invited to ride in the pinnacle of the series, ‘The Cape Epic’. That’s Something we both hope and plan to make if we can, it would be a massive opportunity.”