As he told us, he participated in Race Around Slovenia with a clear purpose: "Yes, I joined the race with a clear goal that involved racing, just like I do every race." He further explains: "As always, I have dealt with a scientific approach. Since I am a doctor, this approach is very interesting from a professional point of view, and so I really found myself in the training of Aleksej Dolinsek, who has been my coach for the last three years. Together we made a plan and constantly monitored physiological adaptations, feeling, blood counts and according to the weekly data, we adjusted training accordingly." With such a carefully planned professional approach, the result is neither questionable, nor is his commitment to the goal: "I tried to get the most out of my free time, which in the months before the race meant focusing on my job, training, food, rest and regeneration. From beginning it was very much planned out well and theoretically I knew that I can do it. But of course, on such a difficult race it also depends a lot on luck and having the right supporting team to do its best. "
But despite his youth, Žiga Sernec is not completely new to ultra cycling. Moving on from road racing cycling into this extreme endurance discipline, he soon realized that very long training was really pleasing to him and that after long rides he felt great. "I noticed that my body tires in a different way compared to other riders, and that I do not have physical problems with long training or lack of motivation. At that time, I was also a bit stuffed with just doing cycling uphill races and grandfondos, so I wanted to try something new. Ultra sports have always fascinated me. I wanted to take the DOS-RAS Extreme since I heard about it, but the thought of really doing it came gradually. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this goal was feasible. My first ultra-cycling race was Slo24ultra 24h solo. I applied for it because back in 2016, DOS-RAS Extreme was canceled, which is a pity, because I really felt well prepared." With a very committed team, he reliably bargained in to the second place in the overall ranking, which was an incredible achievement for the whole team. ''But it made me know that I my decision was right'', it further confirms the correctness of the personal decision.
Žiga Sernec worked with the Rog team on the DOS-RAS Extreme test this year Team, to all well-known producers of the cult urban bikes called Pony. As he explains, the idea of cooperation and motivation for joining the race came from both sides. One of his good friends, later also an active member of the team, had previously worked under the auspices of the Rog team. "With Rog, I'm mostly involved in races where they helped me a lot, and at some promotional events, such as Goni Pony, for example. I've known all the team members even before the race. Well, four of them were already in my team at Slo24Ultra 2016, but I only met one team member before the competition. Another friend of mine invited him to the team, which proved to be a great move, as it was an indispensable part of the race and we became good friends."
With a predictable frosty spring weather, such a long race as DOS-RAS Extreme is practically impossible to control completely by the teams. Even with good prediction of all the scenarios, the race always delivers a surprising action. And that is exactly why we asked him which situation during the race will he remember the most and which story spread a smile on his cheeks for a long time even after the race. ''It happened during the ascent to the Sleme when we were on the road for more than a day and the second night during the race was approaching. I felt great, but I wanted to refresh my mouth a little and get rid of that unpleasant feeling on my teeth. So I thought it was a good time to brush my teeth. To do this during the ascent, it was clearly a good idea, as speeds are much smaller going uphill. When I told the team, they immediately went to the action, and so Bali (Rok Balažič) prepared a toothbrush with a thick layer of toothpaste ... Well, so it seemed to be... But when I brushed my teeth for a minute I couldn’t find out why my mouth soars and no foam is coming from the paste itself. Of course, I quickly mentioned this to the team only to find out that instead of a toothpaste I mistakenly receiver a brush with a Voltaren Gel on it. It is a gel, used against muscle pain. When I was able to wash my mouth with water, I reacted against anticipation with a boom of laughter and good will. This aroused me and I woke up for a few more hours."
And his plans in the near future? "I definitely have great ambitions in ultra-cycling", says Ziga. "With the last DOS, we also qualified for RAAM. Cycling will probably always be a big part of my life, and I will dedicate myself to it in accordance with other wishes and obligations," he explains and emphasizes that in the future, he especially wants to dedicate himself to his profession and family as much as possible. ''But to put all this into a 24-hour period, it's real art. For me, the ideal length of the day would be at least 48 hours! "But nevertheless, this promising ultra-cyclist can still be expected by fans at the start of the Race around Slovenia. "Can you expect to see me back at DOS?" Of course! I certainly did not say the last word! For 2018, I do not plan to make big bikes on the bike, otherwise, never say never. "
"To conclude, I should once again emphasize that without such an exceptional team my success would be impossible. Everybody was so highly motivated and focused on our goal - firstly to take maximum care of my safety and then finish the race in less than two days. I would also mention all the members of the team: Maruška Poček, Sandra Kamenšek, Mojca Serdoner, Niko Korber, Matic Sevšek, Rok Balažič, Denis Dečko, Jernej Pušnik. They are golden!''
I would like to dedicate this race to my late father-in-law, who, too early on, died three months before the start of the race. He was the first one to thrill me for cycling and that's why I started to flirt with ultra races. From him I heard for the first time about DOS-RAS Extreme and I will never forget that when I was riding my bicycle across Kozjansko, during my first cycling kilometers, he explained to me how RAS is taking place in those parts of Slovenia and what exactly is this race. I was impressed and decided - I'm going to this race once!