After a relaxing week in the Val di Sole spent drinking coffee, eating Gelati and doing a bit of riding it was time to saddle up for world cup #2. I had an even worse start call up than the previous week, it was going to be a battle for the first few laps.
Sure enough on the start loop was spent more grabbing the brakes as riders fell and tangled everywhere than pedalling hard, and some of the first lap was spent queued up in the narrower sections. The second lap opened up a bit, and I started moving up a couple of positions. By the 3rd lap I was beginning to feel better on the climbs and on the 4th I was in my usual mid-race feel-good-high. I was losing a few minutes each lap to the leaders, and I was thinking I was on track to get out for the 5th lap, but as I swung around the corner towards the feed-zone the 80% commaissaire was blocking my path. So 2 laps down and 134th position was the final result. My position was pretty disappointing with hindsight, but given my start position and lack of first and second kick it wasn't too surprising.
Sunday after the race was spent doing an easy ride up to the Passo Tonale, eating pizza and checking out the downhill race before packing everything up again for the road trip to Germany. Blairy, James and I left early Monday with what we thought was plenty of time for the trip to Zurich. Unfortunately we did not look too closely at the Google Maps route, which ended up taking us across some of the biggest passes in Europe. The highlight was the 2630m Passo di Gavia, a tiny ribbon of bitumen in northern Italy which was so narrow in places Blairy started beeping the horn at most corners cause the single lane road was impossible to pass on. After a unplanned diversion through Livigno and a couple more passes in Switzerland we made it to Zurich airport with just enough time for Jimmy to catch his flight home.
I was meeting Mike Blewitt (fellow Aussie racing marathon worlds at St Wendel) at the airport, and we headed off to Freiburg for the night. Cal has been living in Freiburg for a month or two, and I had sent him a message letting him know we were going to be in town and getting him to show us some trails the next day. I headed out for an easy ride once we arrived late in the arvo, and straight away it started pissing down. I was about to turn around and head home, when Cal appeared coming the other way, so I stuck with it and we spent a hour getting saturated. The ride the next day was much more enjoyable; the trails around Freiburg are fantastic!
So now we are in a small town just south of St Wendel for the MTB Marathon World Champs on Sunday. We rode the first section of course today, and I was less than impressed. The first 30km is going to be pretty much a road race, with mostly gravel and paved bike tracks with only short climbs to break things up. We have heard that the 2nd half of the course is much better, so hopefully there is some proper mountain biking somewhere!