Germany’s longest cycling marathon: The Race Across Germany

Stefan Feilen fährt mit seinem Rennrad beim Race Across Germany. Er ist in der Bildmitte von der Seite auf seinem Rennrad zu sehen und lächelt in die Kamera. Im Hintergrund ist eine Wiese erkennbar.

Heavy legs, downpour, but also tears of joy: The Race Across Germany cycling marathon is a unique experience for Stefan Feilen. In the end, he needs 57 hours and 28 minutes for the more than 1,100 km long distance and thus still reaches the finish line in the required time – although he must struggle with difficulties again and again. His ANTELOPE.SUIT plays an important role both before and after the race.  

How did the race go for you - have you been more powerful thanks to your ANTELOPE.SUIT?

Stefan: From my values and data, I am very satisfied and would definitely like to continue the cooperation with ANTELOPE. I got the suit this year in February, so I got five months to prepare. Because of the training, I already had a decent increase in performance. I also lost two and a half kilos of weight and built up muscles. But I’m really curious about how it proceeds with a complete preparation over nine or ten months to see what can still be tickled out. I didn’t have any neck or back problems this time either – that used to be extreme in the past.

In preparation for Race Across Germany, Stefan was able to significantly increase his FTP value. This indicates the maximum power in watts that an athlete can produce on average in one hour.

A graph shows the results of Stefan Feilen's functional threshold power test during his preparation with the ANTELOPE.SUIT for Race Across Germany. The x-axis represents the time, the y-axis the values of the test in watts. Stefans perfomance has increased over time.

How did the Race Across Germany make you feel for you compared to previous competitions?

Stefan: The race is actually no comparison to all the competitions before. It was the hardest thing I’ve ridden so far. Even if I think about 2019, when I was at the Paris-Brest-Paris cycling marathon. That’s another 100 kilometers more, but the Race Across Germany is more demanding. The altitude meters are completely different and extremely challenging. I have also never ridden such a long distance with a support crew, just unsupported before.  Nevertheless, it went really well – until I crashed after kilometer 250. I saw a bump too late, hit it full on with the front wheel and rolled over.

Was it difficult for you to continue driving after that?

Stefan: No. I was back on the bike after ten minutes. Sure, there’s the thought: “What could have happened?” But you must get rid of that quickly. I had a few abrasions and a bruise on my back. The saddle on the bicycle itself was broken, which I didn’t realize at first. After a few hours, however, it became noticeable on my backside. (laughs)

Stefan Feilen rides his road bike at the Race Across Germany after his preparation with the EMS suit from ANTELOPE. He can be seen from behind a little to the left of the picture. He rides on a road, next to him is a meadow and in the background the sun can be seen.

What else was challenging for you?

Stefan: The first night after the crash was really bad. I drove through until half past two. I had to fight a lot with fatigue. And I was really, really cold because it rained for 300 kilometers straight. On the second night, my race bicycle broke down and I had to switch back to my time trial bicycle. 

Stefan Feilen is motivated for the bike race at the Race Across Germany after preparing with the EMS suit from ANTELOPE. Stefan is standing slightly to the left of the center of the picture leaning against his racing bike and looking into the camera with a smile. You can see him standing in front of a bus from his head to below his knees.

Did you ever think: "I won't be able to do this in the given time"?

Stefan: Not myself. You don’t think much during a cycling marathon anyway – mostly just “hunger, thirst and stupid headwind”. With the crew in the car, there was fear on the last day. They calculated and calculated a lot. But I never thought about giving up.

How did you take care of your muscle recovery after the race?

Stefan: My ANTELOPE.SUIT was definitely a big help. In EMS training, I always felt that hat I would get fit again quickly and not have to struggle so much with muscle soreness even after hard units. That’s why on Monday, before we left, I put on the ANTELOPE EMS suit in the morning and turned on the massage program to slowly loosen up the muscles. In 2019, after Paris, I couldn’t ride my bike for six weeks because of problems with my back and joints. In addition, my Achilles tendon was inflamed. This time, I was already back on the bike a week later for a loose session. My recovery is ongoing, though, even though the race was over ten days ago. My hands are still numb. 

Despite the resistance: Would you participate in the Race Across Germany again?

Stefan: The registration is already out. I want to get under 50 hours next year. This year we had 50 hours 22 minutes riding time and almost 7 hours standing time. There is definitely still something to get out of it! 

Stefan Feilen rides his road bike at the Race Across Germany after his preparation with the EMS suit from ANTELOPE. He can be seen from behind a little to the right of the center of the picture. He rides on a road along trees on a meadow.

What was your personal highlight of the race?

Stefan: 70 kilometers before Garmisch, my best friend and his partner were standing on the track. He came all the way down 500 kilometers from Trier. When they were waiting at the finish line, that was a real highlight. I was crying my eyes out.

In preparation for the race, Stefan completed six training sessions a week. Always with him: his ANTELOPE SUIT.

 “I have been training with a training program for a long time, but with the ANTELOPE EMS suit you can really tickle out a lot more.”

Stefan Feilen

Ultra distance racing cyclist

Stefan Feilen on his racing bike at Race Across Germany after his preparation with the EMS suit from ANTELOPE. He can be seen slightly to the side in the center of the picture from his head to above his feet while smiling at the camera.

Once across Germany and testing your own limits – the Race Across Germany is a great challenge for all extreme cyclists.

You can find out more about Stefan and his journey to Germany’s longest cycling marathon on his website!

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