Flo Vogel and Markus Schulte-Luenzum have crossed the Alps in 27 hours and 20 minutes! In short, they made the impossible possible: The members of the Focus XC Team crossed the Alps in only 27 hours and 20 minutes on the new e-mountain bike, the Focus Project Y.

They were 8 hours and 40 minutes faster than they had planned. During their record attempt on the classic Transalp route from Oberstdorf, Germany, to Riva del Garda, Italy, they had to overcome lack of sleep, permanent stress, and even snow drifting. But after 400 kilometres and 16,000 metres of climbing, they proved that the crossing of the Alps by e-bike is possible in just over a day.

Tackling the Transalp route

Mountain bikers usually take 5 to 7 days to successfully complete the Heckmair Trans-Alps route. Reigning European cross-country champion Flo Vogel, from Rapperswil-Jona, Switzerland, and Markus Schulte-Luenzum, from Haltern, Germany, stepped up to the plate to complete the route within less than 36 hours. They started in Oberstdorf in the early hours of September 25, 2017, at 5.36am CEST. Their tool was the lightweight 13 kg Focus Project Y, a new race hardtail with an electric motor. The Focus XC Team supported them en route and helped with nutrition.

After a rainy night, the ground on the first part of the trail was wet and slippery. At 6:30am, the XC pros reached Schrofen Pass, at 1,688 m, on the Austrian border. At Vorarlberg’s Lake Formarin, the sun came out. The riders arrived at Schlappiner Joch (2,202 m) at 12:07 pm and continued to ride on Swiss soil. Nearly 5 hours later, they crossed Chaschauna Pass (2,694 m) and reached Italy. Gavia Pass (2,618 m) greeted them with drifting snow in the middle of the night. At 8.56am on September 26, they reached Riva del Garda, cheering about their successful record attempt.

At the finish in Riva, Flo Vogel summed it up: “We had all conditions possible: snow, rain, and sun. We had warm temperatures, but we also had to freeze a lot. It was a great experience. It wasn’t easy all the time, but I’m feeling better than I expected. I would do it again any time!”

Markus Schulte-Luenzum added: “The final six or seven hours were quite tough. I’m feeling exhausted now. The trails were fun but I was too tired to enjoy the trails on the final part. It was quite tough to face four seasons within such a short time. When it began to snow at Gavia, I first thought: That’s it, we have to quit.”

The Transalp challenge in numbers

21:50 hours of active riding and walking time

5:30 hours of breaks

20 kph average speed

70 kph high speed

No flats, no crashes, no mechanical breakdowns.

Among other things, they ate two XXL packs of pasta as well as 30 energy bars and drank 30 litres of water.