Switzerland has hills? World Champs are good Allies.

Posted: 16 December 2014 in Uncategorized

I headed down to Freiburg on the weekend with Emily to meet up with the team and I would attend the last EKZ Cross Tour C1 UCI Race in Eschenbach and Emily was off to a super secret not so secret underground cross race in Freiburg known as the FUQRS.  She had fun, but I guess it was a bit muddy.

In Switzerland, I was super stoked because for the first time since the last time I got to spend time with Mike Kluge 8 years ago in Aigle, he came to the race with us, and I got to soak up some of that years of cross knowledge and experience.  Good thing I did too because the course was a bit of a douzie!  The majority of the course was what I would consider standard Euro style racing with some deep sticky mud sections interspersed with some fast on the pavement sections and gravel sections with quite a few bridges and flyovers going over streams and pedestrian walkways.  Then half way through the lap you went up a MASSIVE road climb, then shot straight down an obscene off cambre steep grassy (which turned to slick mud) hill, and straight back into the forest for a couple birmed corners before coming back out onto the standard Euro flat part.  A few photos below:

I couldn’t find any photos with me in them, I seemed to be the grey man last weekend…  Photos taken from the EKZ Cross Tour website.

Right off the gun I had a really great start from what I normally end up having, given that the start straight was VERY short, and there was a bad crash on one side which I was able to avoid, I managed to hold my position really well and the first couple corners came up super quick.  For the first couple laps I was riding with one of our strong U23 riders Lukas, so we were really able to push each other for the first few laps until the pace I was setting came too much for him, or I think I just rode the technical bits a bit better, and I lost him in the race-fog.  I was riding really well for the first 4 or 5 laps and then I got a bit too confident I think and took a really bad line into the off-cambre downhill and crashed even before it got really knarly.  I had major help from Mike Kluge when pre-riding the course ahead of time, so he gave some really great advice on how to ride it properly.  The most important thing to do was use NO brakes.  Which is kinda scary when you see the photos above, but it’s true and the laps I was the most cautious were the ones I ended up crashing on.  Towards the end with all the crashes and everything, I ended up loosing a bit of time in the lap times, but pulled it home for my best result of the series in 21st.  Not a bad race in such a strong international field and given how many of the guys who race in Switzerland are all World Cup racing MTB Pros.

Mad props and thanks to Mike Kluge for all the advice.

Next up:  Namur World Cup and the Kerstperiode in Belgium!

  1. Laura says:

    Sounds like Eschenbach was a lot of fun! Looking forward to seeing you in Namur 🙂

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