Euro CX, new Team, and one hell of an overqualified helper

Posted: 16 September 2014 in Uncategorized

The CX Season is officially here!  I headed down to Switzerland for my first taste at the big leagues this season and my first race with the new team “Focus CX Team”.  Took the train down to Freiburg to met up with Hanka Kupfernagel who was also planning on racing and as we share the same support crew, we all usually travel to the races together.  Unbeknownst to me, all but one of my team mates had either cancelled their trip at the last moment or had issues preventing them from racing.  Hanka had a pretty scary crash a few days before and was having some tail bone issues so she thought it best not to damage it further given that it’s this early in the season…  So regardless, I pushed on and really wanted to test my legs out on the first CX race of the year.  Albeit a very hard one at that.  The course was basically a MTB’ers course with lots of climbing every lap, one section with a few wicked berms to hit at high speed, not to mention and incredibly bumpy and rough course.   If I raced it with a MTB I would have chosen the fully!  It had everything, including some pretty high barriers mid-way up one of the big climbs, some man made stairs, and lots of skill testing corners.  It’s like I threw myself into the deep end to kick off the season.  I mean Vegas is a big deal, and getting stronger every year with more and more Euros showing up to race them, but the rest of the guys, and all the crazy fast U23 riders apparently start their seasons off is Switzerland!!!

Personalized Numbers!

Personalized Numbers!

Also, Because Hanka wasn’t able to race, she decided to help me out in the pits giving me feeds and taking photos etc…  I’ve never had a World Champion work the pits for me before 🙂  We had lots of fun!

The Race:  The start went not so great after the guy in front of me kept running into the rider in front of him, so I was left riding Very easy until I was clear to get around him, and eventually I was able to get clear.  The first few laps were just about trying not to blow up.  I lost a few spots and in traffic decided not to hop the barriers on the first lap.  From the second lap onward it was just a matter of riding with a good group and picking off guys who obviously don’t know how to pace themselves in the first CX race of the season…

Extremely bumpy course.

Extremely bumpy course.

I wasn’t able to get the new bikes built up yet due to the fact that I don’t have them yet, so I was rocking the good old trusty Norco Threshold for the season opener, just needed a little bit of good ol’ lovin to get it race ready.  Lots of new bearings that’s for sure!  So I was able to pull back a few guys especially with my skills of being able to bunny hop the barriers, and being the only one to do it it came with a significant advantage of being able to ride the rest of the hill after them with a bit of speed.  I don’t know why but hopping them didn’t seem to draw that much attention, probably because I was towards the back anyways, but I’m glad I practiced with Uli (my new training partner) a few times ahead of this race because I went into it with lots of confidence and was able to hop them every lap when I wanted to…

IMG_0264

The dreadful stair set.

I’m pretty happy with the way the race went even though it’s the beginning of the season.  I changed quite a few things this year with the move to MTB’s in the summer and not racing as much in general, so I really wasn’t sure of the form heading into it, but it gives me a bit of confidence after the first race knowing I didn’t get lapped and most of the World Cup winning riders were in attendance and it was a fairly short lap to begin with.  Anyways, the prep is going well, and I’m stoked about the new team.  Can’t wait to meet the rest of my team mates!!!!

Next up: Not sure, Maybe the next Swiss race in the EKZ tour or a local one in Munich next weekend.  Maybe I’ll be able to debut the new bikes and wheels!  It might take me some time to get used to cantilevers again…

Check out the Video Hanka made from the race!

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10154561444150720&l=1321300012704941341

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Comments
  1. Jeff Perron says:

    Nice read Schooler. Keeping the fire lit !

  2. Keep going Aaron, in our eyes your the best. Love from Vancouver Island, Canada.

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