News 2020

WTF is this Trophy Devil?

Is he just a copy of the legendary Didi the devil, the trident demon of the Tour de France? No, by no means as our Trophy devil has its own unique story!

  • Salzkammergut Mountainbike Trophy 2019 - Teufel in der Ewigen Wand (Foto: Christoph Oberschneider)

As every story begins: once upon a time there was a real genuine Bavarian guy!

Bernd Zörlein

This was 20 years ago; in 2000 Bernd Zörlein a Rookie from Vöhringen, Bavaria totally smashed and at the end of his tether, ankle deep in mud after the then still required brutal carry passage at the Strähnhag just before the downhill Rossalm – a TV team asked how he was doing. “It's hell!” he babbled into the micro, yet still facing more than 65 kilometers he added. “No, it will be hell and back!” capturing in a nutshell what every exhausted biker feels, when the heavenly finishing line is still far away.

“A ride to hell and back” became the perfect synonym for the sheer unbearable, hellish tortures of the 210 km course.

WTF is this Trophy Devil?

Salzkammergut Mountainbike Trophy 2017 - Teufel (Foto: Horst Viertbauer)

Then at the very same race Thomas Gschwandtner, a ceramic artist from Hallstatt, came in second last – one an half hours later than Bernd Zörlein. Already two year prior, at the very first Mountain Bike Trophy in 1998, he also challenged the long distance, but he failed as the time limit beat him without mercy. Also the following year he had to give up just as many others as well.

But Thomas is a fighter, defeats makes him even stronger! His credos are maniac sports as he describes it. It’s like a magical pull: so far he participated successfully five times at the draining Ironman in Klagenfurt, several times at the energy-sapping Hallstatt Swim-Marathon with more than 10km. Even the mad Tough Guy Race, an annual steeplechase in England is part of his sporty repertoire.

Hallstatt Keramik - Thomas Gschwandtner bei der Anfertigung der Trophäen (Foto: Peter Perstl)

Thomas knows well those endorphin loaded moments of happiness being a tough athlete and even better so the bikers’ ups and downs undergoing the Salzkammergut Trophy. Yet he is not only an athlete of steel, he is also extremely creative artist.

In 2009 Thomas came up with a great idea. The Trophy team assigned him with the production of extreme distance winner’s prize and he created an iconic trophy – a red devil on a mountain bike. „The Salzkammergut Trophy has something savage –  no angel would fit. Those who triumph the ride to ‘hell and back' can only bike like a devil” according to his artistic creation.

Salzkammergut Mountainbike Trophy 2018 - Teufel am Weg zum Start (Foto: sportograf)

In 2017 Thomas brought his trophy eventually to real life. „I love to dress up and always up for mad actions” he grins. “For the 20th anniversary in 2017, the Trophy team asked me to create an ‘entrance to hell' at the race number distribution. My idea was then to dress up as a devil and accompany and cheer the bikers along the course. The organizers had no clue and were really surprised as I showed up as a devil with a demon’s fork at the starting area.

The idea was a bombshell. Wherever Thomas shows up hell breaks loose. Diabolic attention and fun is guaranteed when he is around, but Thomas is also a very meticulous person. Whatever he is doing he is doing is right, therefore his day as a Trophy Devil starts at 03:00 am. Actually already the day before: „the basic red coloring I do in the evening, so I’m dress up sooner at the race day” he explains. His mainly leather costume was also designed and made by himself.

Salzkammergut Mountainbike Trophy 2019 - Teufel in der Ewigen Wand (Foto: Marc Schwarz)

At 05:00 am sharp he cheers the first Trophy bikers at the starting line. Afterwards he appears unexpectedly at various positions along the course, this year he was even hanging on a rope from the "Ewigen Wand".

And when finally the last racers cross the finish line, Thomas devilish long day is not done yet. It goes without saying he is still around during the winners’s ceremonies. And those may even last longer he says with a wink: "being 24 hours non-stop at the Salzkammergut Mountain Bike Trophy is not unusual, guess this is just my personal marathon …"

Fotogalerie 2017 - 2019

  • Salzkammergut Mountainbike Trophy 2017 - Startnummernausgabe Extremstrecke - Eingang zur Hölle (Foto: Martin Bihounek)

  • Salzkammergut Mountainbike Trophy 2019 - Teufel in der Ewigen Wand (Foto: Marc Schwarz)

  • Salzkammergut Mountainbike Trophy 2018 - Teufel am Salzberg (Foto: Gerhard Reitbauer)

  • Salzkammergut Mountainbike Trophy 2017 - Teufel an der Strecke (Foto: Marc Schwarz)

  • Salzkammergut Mountainbike Trophy 2017 - Startnummernausgabe Extremstrecke - Eingang zur Hölle (Foto: Martin Bihounek)

  • Salzkammergut Mountainbike Trophy 2018 - Teufel im Ziel (Foto: Martin Bihounek)

  • Salzkammergut Mountainbike Trophy 2018 - Teufel im Ziel (Foto: Marc Schwarz)

  • Salzkammergut Mountainbike Trophy 2017 - Teufel im Ziel (Foto: Martin Bihounek)

  • Salzkammergut Mountainbike Trophy 2018 - Trophäen (Foto: Rudi Knoll)

  • Irina und Anita Krenn - Siegerinnen Regionswertung Salzkammergut Trophy 2017 mit Teufel - Strecke A (Foto: Joachim Gamsjäger)

  • Salzkammergut Mountainbike Trophy 2019 - Trophäen (Foto: Rudi Knoll)