Straightforward world class
BY DIRK KUNZ
EINHAUSEN ■ Adelheid Schuetz is one of the fastest bicycle riders in Germany, but basically she can’t really ride. She doesn’t like to ride together with others in the peloton, especially she doesn’t like curves. “But straightforward she is world class”, says her husband Rainer Voelkl, who also is her trainer.
Among the world-class bicycle riders, who are all younger and whose profession is to ride very fast, the studied chemist sticks out.
Raised in Thuringia, East-Germany in an academic family, her mother was a mathematician, her father a physicist, sport doesn’t play a major role in her life. In the time shortly before the German reunification, she had taken part in the Monday demonstrations against the suppressing government . After High School, she immigrated to Great Britain, than went to France for two years. Finally she graduated in Ireland.
Her husband, also a scientist, brought her to the cycling sport. At the age 35, she started to train seriously. “My wife could ride 100 miles, hands down on the handlebar and so she was particularly suited for the time trial“, Rainer Voelkl said back then and registered her in 2007 for the city championship of Bayreuth. She won and improved the course record for six minutes. She never owned a car and always liked riding bicycle. She started the competitive sport rather late, because she wanted to take her Ph. D. first. For her doctoral degree she studied behaviour of polyvalent ions.
You can explain Adelheid Schuetz aversion against curves and the big peloton, because of her late start with the specific bicycle training: “If you start to train that in youth, you are able to succeed in the peloton and you are technically more experienced.”
But to ride straight ahead at high speed unfolds a certain potential of addiction: ”I love it, to ride really fast. I enjoy the feeling to merge with my bicycle and to watch the fields go by”, says the 41- year old woman. She is more than 20 years older than a lot of her opponents, but that is nothing to her. She got along well with the other female bicycle riders. Of course they had other interests, but during the race, age doesn’t matter. On the contrary age is also an advantage: From the age of 30 you are senior and it is possible to start races in this category and have the opportunity to win.
She works 45 hours a week as faculty assistant at the University of Bayreuth, takes care of the students and gives lectures. So she has little time for training. To do that efficiently, she rides a lot in the evening at home on the rollers. Her training frequency is about 9.300 miles (15.000 Kilometers) a year.
Pre-run of the route at home
“I want to ride really fast”, that is her goal for the German Championship 2015 in Einhausen (Hessia). The week before, she trained a lot with the time trial bike. Rainer Voelkl recorded the circuit in advance and with a computer program it was possible for Adelheid Schuetz to ride the circuit of Einhausen on the rollers at home.
The night before the race, she had arrived with her husband. On Thursday she still worked at the university. Directly after the race on Friday, she drives home again. At the start area she is standing in her speed suit, without any sponsor- or team name. Minutes before the start her husband cleans the tires from dirt. She rides without an escort vehicle. No one tells her, how much lag or advance she has, which difficulties will arise after the next curve and no one encourages her out of the car. If she has a bike failure, the race is over for her. Then her husband has to pick her up by car.
The presenter at the start area seems that he isn’t really aware of her name and is wondering, why Schuetz starts 4th last position with all high class riders: “I don’t know, who is responsible for the starting list, but if she is starting so late, she really has to be talented.”
Schuetz rides uncertain down the abrupt and technical difficult platform and in the curves her insecurity is obvious. 42 Minutes later, she approaches the finish line. Six riders were faster: All younger and with team support, 49 riders were slower.
Adelheid Schuetz is satisfied with the 7th position, her second best result at the German championship ever. In every curve she lost ten seconds at least, she said. It hurts a little bit, that Charlotte Becker at position six was only one second faster than her. From all time trial specialists she never has beaten only Trixi Worrack and Charlotte Becker. On the actually very straight circuit, there was maybe one curve too much.
Translation into the English language: Dirk KUNZ
Adelheid Schuetz became in early September 2015 timetrial world champion and gold medalist in her own age group (age 40-44) over 18.6 Kilometer (12 miles). She rode the route in Hobro (Denmark) in 27.07 minutes with an average speed of 41.15 Km/h (25 Miles per hour). She was faster than all 110 female starters of all age groups. Bicycle-legend Jeannie Longo, who won the gold medal of her age group (55-59) was 43 seconds slower, congratulated her personally in the backstage area.
(Photo: Rainer Voelkl)