So here we are guys, my very last OCR of 2018. A season I’m pretty damn happy about and one I’ll never forget – I want to start this blog post by saying THANK YOU for supporting me and following this adventure. You guys rock and I hope to see many of you in 2019!

The Red Bull All In was actually the first OCR event of my winter season, which contains 6 OCR races, 2 road races and 1 trail race. Having not raced since OCR World’s I was very, very excited to see how I would react to the intensity and the competition. We’ll get to that part later, first I want to introduce this amazing race concept:

The setup was a 3 round knock-out format, somewhat like Red Bull Conquer the Castle. Athletes were sent off in 8 heats of 50 (men) and top 20 in each would go on to the 2nd round. Here only the top 3 of 5 heats continued to the 3rd and final round. A total of 30 men and 15 women were toeing the start line in the final – a rather intense setup with strong atletes from all of Europe! There was between 1 and 3 hours of break between rounds.

Photo by Red Bull Germany

Held in the skiing area of Oberstdorf Germany, All In was looking to being one hell of a race with a 200m vertical climb on the 2,5km route. 15 obstacles as well, including a water crossing, stairway to heaven, the stairs of an olympic ski jump and an intense Urban Sky 3-section obstacle. The warmest daytime temperature was -10 degrees Celcius, which was my biggest fear before the race.

Starting at 9:45 I would be the first os us (Nikolaj, Ida and I travelled together) to race the course. I was excited, but also very aware of holding back and not going hard like I did at the Red Bull 400 earlier this year. So I “suited up” in my SAYSKY winter combat tights, a pair of X-talon 210’s, a merino wool shirt and buff from Inov8 and the mandatory BlakYak long sleeved shirt. A short warm-up to avoid injury and 3-2-1 we’re off!

The start was super dope. Crushing down the steep landing of the Olympic Skijump and racing through the first 2 obstacles; a wall and some hurdles. Then the madness begun, as we had to do a river crossing with plenty of current! My feet instantly felt pain and then numbness. 50 meters of slippy running next to water we exit the area and do ascend a hill with a rope. I’m mostly excited about getting warm again, but the next obstacle is ladder-golf! I’d never seen that before. We had to throw two huge balls attached with a wire ~10 meters and then hook them to one of 3 bars. I missed the first 9 throws for no apparent reason… Making it on the 10th I land on a blue bar. There was also a yellow and a red one. This became quite relevant later in the game!

Photo by Red Bull Germany

Now desperate to run again I rush down the hill and do a yoke carry – feeling like Mulan before she got strong. Wobbly as ever I make it and race the next 300m to the first grip intense obstacle. Swinging from rope to ring 4 times, I hit the ball and race toward the ascent of the course; the endless stairs to the top of the ski jump! Although I was taking it easy, lactic acid was racing through my legs – on the bright side, I was no longer cold!

On the descent I arrive at a memory test. Having hit the blue bar I need to remember at combination of 5 heavy objects and the order they’re in. Trotting along and finishing the descent I find out why. Just after the Totem Pole climb, 5 big piles of heavy objects are lying around and I need to grab the objects matching my color and carry them to a spot, placing them in the correct order. I’m small, that’s not secret. Carrying heaving things, that’s just tough!

Some “hmpf” and “thumpf” later I can run the final 200m before the finishing obstacle, the 3-section Urban Sky Rig. Starting with a low-to-high-rig I’m smiling all the way through. Next section is the spinning wheels and finally another throwback to OCREC18 with the funky pipes. Here the athlete has to hang in huge rings and move through 2 long pipes with plenty of ups and downs in them. Simple, but quite demanding!

Photo by Red Bull Content Pool // Marc Müller

The first round was fun and both Nikolaj, Ida and I managed to easily secure spots in the semi-finals. We felt confident about the course, but still a slight bit nervous about the competition.

The semi-finals were a bit more demanding. Having to finish top 3, we actually had to push a bit of a pace to secure a spot in the final. Long story short, Nikolaj and I (same heat) make it first to the stairs and push slightly to ensure a good lead. We wrap up a 1st and 2nd with only a few seconds between us and the two fastest times of the semi-finals rounds, feeling pretty content about the race so far. Ida also manages a solid spot in the Final! So far, a good day for the Danes!

A few hours later we’re back in our stupidly cold shoes and toeing the start line again. Stefano Colombo, Alexander Struijk, Michail…, Petr… and many more were there, making this an interesting battle! As always, we rush from the startline at the sound of the gun. Only at the stairs 1,2km into the race, do I have an overview of the places. Nikolaj was pushing 1st, I was in 7th! Shit. Picking up the pace I (painfully) overtake two guys on the long staircase and race after 4th place downhill. I’m struggling with the memory test, losing precious time and praying someone will fuck up the final rig!

Arriving at the second to last obstacle, I start carrying all the heavy stuff to my designated spot. The 4 other guys have only a very small lead now and I’m pushing the pace overtaking 2 of them before we’re all done! Racing to the rig I want to catch the leader, who’s almost halfway through. I go hard and overtake him just before the rings. Shaking my arms to avoid the risk of failing, Nikolaj arrives at my side – a sight for sore eyes! Amazing racing my training buddy and I’m stoked to see how fast he crushed that rig. We start the rings at the same time and I’m gaining a small lead. All of a sudden, another athletes pushing through and overtakes me on my right – I don’t even see it! We drop down simultaneously and SPRINT to the finish, Nikolaj on our heels!

I didn’t make the cut, beaten with 1 second. But I’m all fucking smiles now! Having picked up some valuable positions throughout the race and having made some successful pacing, I feel stronger than ever and happy about all the training I’ve put in over the past few months!

Photo by Red Bull Content Pool

Congratulations to Christoph Birkner on taking first, to Nikolaj with 3rd and to Ida Mathilde for securing the 2nd place spot in the Womens! She shared to podium with winner Nicole Mericle and 3rd place Zuzana Kocumova. Thanks to the race organizers for a well done first-time event and a very, very special thank you to my sponsors for helping me maintaining this positive growth!

Next year I’m excited to race the Red Bull Conquer the Castle in Denmark again. The format’s a slight bit different than at All In and you can read about the 2018 first-ever event here. This will be a high-priority event on my race calendar as I think it’s very competitive, tons of fun and an innovative way of racing. See you there!

// Leon