Friday, July 25, 2008
On the mad dash back to the hotel to try and retrieve Greg's stuff the gearbox started playing up. Eventually it simply would not go into any gear, and we were left to drive back entirely in 2nd gear. Interestingly though, we discovered that a Opel Zafira does 85km/h redlining in 2nd gear. We did find Greg's stuff and the car did make it just back, and after a while the guy who organised the car arrived to sort out the mess. Amazingly, after a couple of hours of fiddling under the bonnet he drove it away without a hint of trouble. We have actually ended up with the same car again, and I don't know what he got done to it but it is now working a treat.
The next hiccup came when we arrived at the accomodation for the 7-Day MTBO event in Nowa Kaletka. We had been told we were getting a 'house', but upon arrival we discovered all we had was a tiny glorified shack in the middle of the forest with unbelievably bad beds. After 2 painful nights there we shifted out into a hotel in the big nearby town of Olzstyn, which is a really nice town actually.
The 7-Day event got off to a mixed start, with the sprint event held in pouring rain which turned the sandy tracks into bike destroying death traps. I had a fairly good ride and won, but I know a few of the other good guys were resting up for the world ranking races on the next two days. With the rain gone, but the tracks still very wet, the Middle and Long distance races were hard work. I had good races in both, losing only a little time here and there to win both. That means with my wins in France a few weeks ago and some other races in Australia that my world ranking will jump up to around 2 or 3 in the world!
Rest day was today, and all that was in store was a spin on the roadie and settling in to watch the tour as I write this. No staying up to 2am to see the stages for me, ahh this is the life!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Days 1 and 2 I used to try and settle back down and try and go as smoothly as possible in preparation for days 3 and 4 which were doubling as World Ranking Events. After a solid 2nd and 5th places for the first 2 days, I slipped it into 5th gear and despite a couple of mistakes managed to win both the important WRE days. Day 5 was a bit of a come down, with tired legs and motivation on the way down I did just the minimum to hang on to win the overall title for the 5 days, for which I got a very spiffy maillot jeune and a not so spiffy maillot verte (more fluro verte really!) for the fastest sprint betweent the last control and the finish line!
The race finished on Bastille Day which was good planning on the organisers behalf, as we could join in the festivities on the french national day. The following day was designated rest day for the Tour and us, so a trip to the nearby Disneyland was done. Was a bit of a rip off, but now I can say i've been to one. After all the saddle time on the MTB in the past week, it was good to get back on the roadie for some solid miles. The town of the stage start for the final stage of the tour is about 50km from here, so I pedalled across there to take a few pics. Now when Cadel leads them out of Etampe on the 27th still in yellow I can say that i'd ridden across the same ground ;)
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Go Tim go! Winning Stage 2
The next couple of days were more of the same, with two 2nd place finishes and more singletrack each day. By the end of day 4 we had moved up to 3rd overall after our bad day 1, but doubted we could improve much more. Day 5 was another bad one for us, with a couple of flats we dropped back to 4th on GC and were getting pretty shagged after driving ourselves into the ground each day.
The final two days at Squamish and Whistler took us through some of the best singletrack on the planet, but it is all very technical and tough work to get through fast, and each day we were counting down the km to the finish which couldn't come quick enough. In the end we bumped our way back to 3rd overall, which was a fantastic result given the level of the guys we were racing against. Thanks to Flight Centre, Scott and Schwalbe tires for giving us support for this race, it was the toughest race I have ever done and every little bit of help makes the difference when we are trying to mix it up with the big guns.
Life in the box on day 7 at Whistler
One of the many log rides which are typical on BC trails