"I have to live with my role as favorite"Pierre Bischoff in an exclusive interview about his victory at the Race Across America 2016, his start at Glocknerman and his pleasure in extreme cycling
Glocknerman: Congratulations on your sensational performance at the RAAM last year. What has changed since the victory?
Pierre Bischoff: Since my unexpected victory, the world has not turned upside down. I do not have any more pressure since then. I always wanted to be at the start at the RAAM and finally sink the huge rucksack that I have accumulated for years, finally in the sea. This has really succeeded me. Here and there, of course, a couple of inquiries for interviews or lectures come in, but beside my job as a guide and controller at the Mein Almhof Hotel in Nauders, there is hardly time. Actually, I'm looking forward to be on Majorca soon and just have to "cycle".
Shortly before, you announced to start at the Race Across Russia. Why Russia and not again America?
I only wanted to participate at the RAAM once and then I wanted to gear down in cycling. It has cost a lot of resources for years and there is the point where you have to be honest with yourself and have to say up to here and not further. With my statement I want to grow up was mainly the financial burden a great aspect. But that one was taken for me for Russia now, so I had almost no excuse. Thanks to the unrestrained will of the organizer, I will start at the Red Bull Trans Siberian Race (RBTSR).
The Race Across America has always been the longest and probably the toughest cycling race in the world with 4800km. The Race Across Russia has the twice the distance, which is however in stages driven, but it represents a new dimension in the extreme cycling. What do you think where the trend leads? Always further and harder?
The extent to which this format of an ultra-stage race will develop is difficult to predict. I think the RAAM is the only one of its kind to exist and the RBTSR hat the potential to be something special in that kind of stage-races. Higher, faster, further – that is how we humans all think somehow. After all, there are people who cycle through the Himalayas.
We are very glad that you will participate at the Glocknerman this year. What does the race mean to you?
First and foremost, I am going to take this race as a form check for myself. Because of my many motivation fluctuations in the training I can not say at all how my form will be to date. One month before the RBTSR, this is the ideal hardness test. Both mentally and physically.
Already in 2014, you took part in the Glocknerman and you could make the 2nd place. How was the race then?
The 2014 race reflects my attitude to the Ultra cycling sports. It was never a question of placings or records, just for the fun of each other and a fair coexistence. When I was with the leading group and had a flat tire, the whole group stood and it did not attack. It was a statement of team spirit, although one is against each other. And the winner in 2014 has been able to fulfill his dream with it. He wanted it so much that I was glad to see him as a winner. And I do not know if I had the talent to be fast enough or maybe I could get him with an attack. I was concerned about arriving and not about winning.
What do you expect for this year?
Everyone will probably consider me a favorite. I must live with that. For me, I am absolutely not. My current level of performance is so in the basement, that I am really already a little bit afraid to stand in four months at the start. I'm just glad to have an extreme challenge with many starters. To beat the Großglockner twice and then return to Graz. If I reach a time around 40 hours, it would be great, but until then it is still a long, hard way for me. And for every starter, it might be a bit extra motivation to beat the current RAAM winner.
On the day before the race, you will give a lecture on the victory at the RAAM as part of the Glocknerman. Is it your first lecture in Styria? What does the visitor expect?
Yes, it will be my first lecture in Styria, almost in the capitel of the ultra cyclists, where many greats have told about their adventures. I just want to share my experience with everyone who is interested in it. At some lectures, I was already asked why it never looked painful cycling 10 days. I just had fun and I will bring this fun and joy and also the small mental depths in the lecture with pictures and videos closer and perhaps maybe motivate the one or another to prepare themselves for the hardest ultra cycling race of the world.