// 2001 was the last year the Ötztalmarathon started & finished in Steinach. It was my second participation in this greatest event a hobby rider like me can enter, together with 2500 others. The complete route I knew from the year before, every meter but with a different rhythm. The start was in Sölden like always since then with the Timmelsjoch Pass at least. 1800 meters (5900 feet) climbing in altitude after 170km (105 miles) of riding. How tired you are on its peak at 2500 meters (8200 feet) sets the euphoria you feel behind the finish line. Riding the Brenner Pass to the objective was fun, with another rider we paced uphill and lost a big group behind us. He was older than me and sprinted me down before the finish line. I won the confidence under 8 hours is possible for me, but not under 7:30. The time of the official stop watch I wrote under my stone, a gift from the valley for every finisher .. 8:13:18 .. four years later I got very close to the 8 hours, strong fog and low temperatures kept the 8 in place for ever.