BioMac shoes open the door

To tell the whole story about how important the 24h World Championships in Borrego Springs 2017 was for my RAAM future, I have to start some time back. It was about 4-5 years ago that my feet problems started escalating. Before that there was an odd feet pain in the last days of RAAM, but suddenly the pain was coming sooner and sooner. So soon that during RAAM 2013 I had to stop before the descent down Glass Elevator for excruciating foot pain,  take the shoes off and dip my feet into ice-cold water. The only way I would survive that race was with taking Ibu-Profen in extreme quantities.

In short, my feet became the Achilles Tendon of my ultra-racing. I was still able to race and even win races, but it was so painfull that I was forgeting how enjoyable riding a bike used to be. It was  hard to admit, but it seemed that my body was succumbing to the wear and tear of 30+ years of cycling. I love cycling, so I didn't want to throw in the towel, but decided to put a hold on future RAAMs until (if ever) I find a solution to my foot issue.

I have heard of mid-foot cleat position from a RAAM competitor and 2 time winner, Dani Wyss. It was probably 7 years ago and I did look into it, but the shoes in question were way too expensive for me to even consider it. In the last year or so, with my foot pain getting worse and worse, I was thinking more and more about it. Three weeks before this year's 24h TT World Champs I decided to do something about it. I emailed mr. Heine and asked him if he is able to provide the pair of shoes for me before the race. He said it can be done. I had to measure my feet, send him a drawing and some photos, pay for them and in a couple of days I had them in my hands.

With the mid-foot position, the position on the bike changes dramatically, just the seat height has to be 3+cm lower. Following mr. Heine's instructions I dialled in the position pretty quickly and I was riding for the first time some 10 days before the race. During the 6h test Time Trial I did in training for the race, my feelings were great with no pain whatsoever. So, the decision was made - I was going to race with my new shoes. I wouldn’T advise it to anyone else, but for me it was to be an ultimate test if I can dream of solo RAAM again. Sure it was a gamble, but I just wanted to see if it is at all possible for me to survive such a hard race without foot pain. To tell you the truth, I was praying for a miracle, as I wasn't a 100% convinced it is possible.

The rest of the story is short. After some 15 hours of racing full out, I realised that my feet feel like I would have been racing in sleepers. The realisation that I am racing pain free after suffering so long almost brought tears to my eyes. I was enjoying myself for the first time in years. And started to dream about RAAM again. Thank you Götz Heine for giving me back my dream!

I want to dial in the new riding style for a few more races, so I will skip RAAM in 2018 to get ready for a comeback in 2019. Keep your fingers crossed!

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