The ibex is not only the icon of the Alps but also of the Swiss Epic. Depicted standing on a rocky outcrop, surveying the trails far below, the Swiss Epic’s ibex is a lone animal. Which makes it the ideal symbol for the final rider to have finished every edition of the Swiss Epic, in Graubünden.
The Last Ibex is the title reserved for the last rider to have completed every edition, thus far, of the Swiss Epic, in Graubünden. Like the Absa Cape Epic’s Last Lion, it seeks to honour the race’s most dedicated rider. But as in Africa, in Switzerland the title is hotly contested. Currently there are three riders in contention to be dubbed the Last Ibex. They are Bärti Bucher, Daniel Schnider and Sabina Compassi.
Three legends in their own right. Each have completed seven editions and all three are entered for 2021. In Epic Series terms Bucher is the most celebrated of the trio. Not only has he completed the Absa Cape Epic on eleven occasions, but he has also won the Masters, Mixed and Grand Masters categories in The Race That Measures All. Schnider, is the owner of mountain bike and alpine sports shop, DANi SCHNIDER Radsport, while Compassi is a pharmacist by trade.
Compassi is also the only rider in the trio who thinks she may not remain in the battle to be crowned the Last Ibex for too much longer. “The 2021 Swiss Epic will probably be my last participation for the time being” she confessed. “In 2022, I will fly to the USA at the end of August for a three-week mountain bike holiday in Colorado and Utah. After that…. Maybe, I’ll be back again in 2023. You can never say never.”
Schnider is harder to pin down on a concrete answer. “I’ll stop taking part once I find even less time to train” he joked. Bucher, the oldest of the trio has his sights firmly set on a distinct goal. “My goal is to complete ten editions, and then we take it from there” the 2019 Swiss Epic Grand Masters champion said. “I’m sure I won’t ride another ten editions though; otherwise, the cut off time would probably have to be extended.”
The three potential Last Ibex riders are not the only Swiss Epic legends who deserve honouring however. Along with the seven-time finishers, there are also eight six-time finishers. These riders are spearheaded by the inaugural women’s champion Ariane Lüthi, and also include Bernhard Aebli, Björn Tschenett, Bruno Muralt, Oliver Bayl, Oliver Imfeld, Paul Bühler as well as Walter Schwizer. The Swiss Epic, in Graubünden, also boasts twelve five-time finishers, twenty-two four-time finishers and seventy-three-time finishers.
In 2021, a collection of new riders is set to join the finisher’s club, which honours riders who have completed three or more editions of the Swiss Epic, in Graubünden. They, and the existing club members will once again be honoured with special finisher’s socks. The three-time finishers receiving blue and red socks, the four-time blue and purple, the five-time blue and lime-green, the six-time blue and turquoise, and the new seven-time finishers will receive blue and gold socks. As for Bucher, Schnider and Compassi; their special awards will remain a mystery until after they cross the final finish line, in Davos, on the 21st of August.