Plenty of energy on the road!

Plenty of energy on the road!


Sören Sönksen pushes the pace hard with his cycling team and leaves the expanse of North Frisia behind for a race across the USA.

During the day, Sören Sönksen takes care of the commercial management of the farm and the biogas plant at the Reussenköge site. Desk work. But after work, his urge to move takes over. His great passion: cycling. He’s in the saddle of his bike for around ten hours a week.

Sören and his teammates from SV Enge- Sande achieved their greatest success so far in the 2022 “Race across Europe”. Now they are competing in ultra-cycling on the very big stage: at the “Race across America” (RAAM). The team has 5,000 kilometres of race track, 50,000 metres of altitude ahead of them and – until the start signal sounds in June 2024 – quite a lot of planning and training.

The plan the eight racers have to complete the course in the best time sounds quite simplistic at first: the team simply rides around the clock. But there is a sophisticated system behind it. Four cyclists are always actively racing and take turns. One cyclist gives their all for 15 minutes. The support vehicle with the three other teammates drives ahead to the switching point. There, the next person takes to their bike and takes over the electronic tracker – the baton, so to speak – at full speed. The first rider and bike are loaded onboard, the active cyclist is overtaken again and the next change is prepared. That’s how it goes for twelve hours.

This constant ebb and flow of exertion and rest, top performance and concentrated relaxation is followed by a break from racing in the camper van. No sign of comfort here either. All human needs must be met in transit in order to keep the racing team punctual and as refreshed as possible. “That is indeed a challenge, because the race team can complete up to 500 kilometres in 12 hours,” Sören knows from experience.

Everything they need, as well as three race riders and two car drivers, has to travel from the start in the race vehicle, which runs continuously for five days except for the flying changes. The biggest challenge: replenishing energy reserves as quickly as possible between sprints. “Nutrition must only take up a small amount of space in the racing vehicle while at the same time providing as much energy as possible. That means water, cola and high-carbohydrate gels,” explains Sören. At least there is a toothbrush and a change of clothes for five days of racing in the camper van. “You can only eat things that are good for you there. The more nutrition you get in, the more stamina you will have for the next shift.”

Sören and his teammates want to become the fastest German eight-man relay team since the first race in 1982. The second objective is to raise funds. These are intended for the German Lifesaving Society’s (DLRG) swimming unit. It is used to teach children how to swim safely. Swimming lessons have had to be cancelled for years – first because of Covid-19 and then because of high energy prices. “Mainly novice swimmers were affected by the closures. We want to do our part to make swimming safer again,” says Sören, himself a father of two.

Sponsors can support the team in its sporting ambitions, while donations are collected for a good cause. “We have separated these two areas because we want to make sure that money is raised for the swimming unit l in any case,” explains Sören. Donations of 5,000 euros were collected in 2022.

RAAM is considered the toughest cycling race in the world. This means: “Emotions run high, we motivate each other, push each other really far out of our comfort zones.” That sounds harsh. But Sören laughs: “This is going to be legendary!”

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