8th RAS is almost here

After a particularly hard and long winter it is time for the first real test of the season, the only ultra-cycling race in Slovenia and one of the best races in the World - RACE AROUND SLOVENIA 2014. The two months of forced “rest” because of the broken shoulder and the subsequent two months rehabilitation didn’t do me any favors in preparation for it, so I have mixed feelings about it. Some people have already declared me as a favorite, but little do they know what a 2 months break can mean with such a grueling event as a 1.200km cycling race. So, I try to look at it realistically.


Of course, I go into the race wanting to fight for the victory which would be my second (solo) at RAS. But, there are many ultra-cyclists at the start who had much less (or no at all) problems than I had, so they will be very dangerous in the fight for the victory. And who are they - I think Thomas Ratschob deserves to be at the top of the list, as he was already a few times on the podium even in times of Jure Robic, Than there is last year’s winner Mitja Rok, followed by the Austrians Fuchs and Ladler. Who knows how good Dino NIco Valsesia is, but as he is prepared for RAAM, I am sure he will be in the mix. And there can also be some newcomer who surprises everybody (as Reto did at Tortour 2012). So, the race should be very, very exciting.

My preparation, even if less than perfect, was quite good after I could take of the plaster. The shoulder rehabilitation took a lot of time, but I still managed to make the Tortour preparation camp at Mallorca and a Dubai/Oman camp with  my client Scott Ragsdale. I also did two long brevets, a 1.000km one and Fleche Slovenia, where our team covered 604km. So, the base is good and how my body will respond to almost two days of racing tempo, we will find out during the race itself. As for the shoulder pain, which surfaces after 3-4 hours in the saddle, I have already became pretty accustomed to it.

I do miss the racing already and I am looking forward to the start of the race. I might start a bit more conservatively than usual and hope that my experience will bring me a good if not excellent second night of the race. And that surely is the time in which the race will be decided. You are invited to follow my progress on my website www.markobaloh.com, where Livestreming will be available, but also through Facebook and Twitter. There will also be a GPS tracking of all the racers, so tune in and follow the race. It should be EPIC!

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