I haven’t been that good at keeping this thing up to date this summer. I normally like to write a blog after every race, but I guess I just haven’t been taking enough photos lately. A blog always has to have photos. So I guess I’ll just give you a bit of an update with some random photos of Germany then…
Freiburg XCO TälerCup
Last weekend I headed down to Freiburg with my new training partner Uli. He is actually one of the MTB coaches for Baden-Württemburg and like myself is a cyclocross rider. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this race, but I guess I can say that with almost every race I do here, because I really don’t know anyone and or know much about who is fast yet. In the past weeks I’ve got a bit of a surge of energy and motivation after realizing how close we are to cyclocross nationals. It still feels like summer here as well as this being the first year not with Team H&R BLOCK so my season clock is so messed up it almost feels like April… Anyways, the course in Freiburg was really cool. Climbs weren’t too steep and or too long, but they had some really cool fast and fun downhills too. I’m sure Kabush would say it was granny in a wheel chair accessible, but it really suited my style of MTB riding. Off the start, for the first MTB race since I got here, I was able to hang with the lead riders which was kind of a big shock. This also gave me a bit of extra motivation to ride a bit harder I think. After a half of a lap or so the leading three guys took off and I was relegated to the chase group of about 4. I did what I could to try and not get dropped while still allowing myself to pace for the full hour and a bit. After the second lap, I had basically rode the rest of the group off my wheel and sealed the deal on the downhill. But the bummer part about MTBing is that for the rest of the race I was in no mans land. Didn’t know if I was getting faster or slower, so I did my best to keep it a fast pace and hammer hard. Finished up 4th behind a couple regulars to the podium and some guy named Milatz? Yeah, he is the former European Champ in the XCO. I guess I was just on form that day? Finally a race to write home about!
The race I did on Sunday was a 56km typical bike marathon in Southern Germany. Just on the edge of the Black Forest, the start was in town and the rest was spent in the forest. This one was particularly cool because the trails were not like normal Marathons, but more like an XCO track. Soo much single track it was awesome and an obscene amount of rock boulders blocking the middle of the most knarly downhills. I even had to get off once or twice… Soo cool, and finally the legs felt good in a marathon as I was continuously dangling off the back of the group I was in (which was racing for 9th) on the climbs and would easily chase back on when it started to go downhill or flat even the slightest bit. All was going well until about 10km’s from the finish when I noticed my rear tire going SUPER low and sloshing around. So I stopped to put some air in it with my CO2 and got going again, but it only lasted like a minute before I had to stop again and this time replace it with a proper tube. Trouble is that the tube I grabbed from home was only a 26″ tube and I am riding 29″ wheels. Well thanks to the Norco boys for showing me this trick because with careful stretching, I made it fit, used up my last CO2 (which probably gave me about 16psi) and headed for home. Given that my rear tire wasn’t at the pressure I wanted it at and the fact that I was expecting my tire to blow out at any time, I was being a bit cautious. Until my legs came around and the terrain got a bit less hairy when I stared drafting off a guy going at a good pace for what I could handle. By now we were a ways behind, but I hate passing up a good sprint for the line, so I lead it out on the downhill and given that I reconned the last 3 km’s I knew what I was in for. Technical back alley racing at it’s finest! Only problem is that I fully expected to go straight into the finish line, when in reality we needed to do a 4 corner crit around the church before coming through the finish line. NOT the way it was layed out in the morning, but oh well, slammed on the brakes and slowed down just enough to make the first corner. By this time as I didn’t expect this, I was pretty gassed and the guy behind me came sprinting by me only to misread the sign and take a wrong turn when I rolled easily across the line for 23rd place. Just a few (I mean 10 or 15) minutes behind where I realistically should have been. Bummer, but what can you do.
Next up, my post summer season break where I’ll be wrenching for the Trans Schwartzwald Stage race! then it’s almost CX Time!!!!!