Thursday, May 31, 2007

So its been awhile since I have updated this blog. I like to think its because I have been so busy but in reality its because a long string of crappy races have made it hard to be motivated to write race reports. Since I am here in Switzerland for the first time I am going to start with the good and work backwards...

The Schneitters
The 2007 Swiss U23 National champion Nathalie Schneitter has super supportive parents! They have been our homestay parents for a few days now and they have been SO good to us! Priska feeds us, does our laundry and makes sure our bikes are taken care of by the Swiss national team mechanic. Eddie makes sure we get seconds, we always have a glass of wine in our hand and offers to cut our hair (although we haven^t made it to his salon yet) Both of them put up with our TOTAL lack of german. As typical North americans we dont know any language other than english and a "petit peu" of french. Morons..... To someone who knows all three languages it must be hilarious listening to our mish mash of words. BUT we seem to understand enough to get by. And just to be sure they invite neighbors and family over that know some English to make sure its clear. The Schneitters are SO supportive of Nathalie its awesome to listen to them brag about her even though we dont know EXACTLY what they are saying its obvious. Last night they brought out her 2004 junior world champion medal and rainbow striped jersey which was pretty damn impressive. And for someone so young with such a long list of accomplishments and parents that dote on her, Nathalie is a totally cool chiquita.

The Swiss
As always things in Europe are similar to home but just a little bit different. If there is one thing I would say about the swiss (other than they make GREAT chocolate) is that they are ORGANIZED. Everything has its place and is clean. Oh yeah and they love their cheese. We had a traditional racklette (sp?) our first night here. I love my cheese but I was no match for the swiss. Nathalies brother Micheal wanted to make sure that we knew they didnt eat like this all the time....Apparently they also have to pay a lot for their bike parts. I needed some Shimano brakepads and our Swiss mechanic from Friedlis bike shop ordered them in for us - 89 Swiss Francs for one set!! I think he cut us a deal and gave them to us for cost at 50 swiss francs. Makes us especially thankful that we are sponsored. Thanks Kona - Les Gets!

So we are staying in this great little town near Bern which has some wicked long climbs and steep descents on the mountain bike. Good road riding with kilometers of bike paths. Bikes have their own traffic lights here - now that is acceptance. Wish Nanaimo could get with the program.

I guess I cant avoid the reason I was here. The Offenburg World Cup race was probably one of my favourite courses. It was super technical and rocky and rooty with tons of singletrack. Steep chutes had many terrified in the pre-ride (when it was still dry). I had yet to take my Maxxis Oriflamme semi slicks off so prerode with them knowing full well I needed some more tread for the race - especially if it rained as expected. The legs felt pretty good even though we only arrived Thursday. I think it was the first class sleeping pod I was lucky enough to score on the way over! On the start line it started to sprinkle. My last few races I have been starting fast and fading so I told myself to hold back at the start so I could have energy to ride the fun singletrack. The climbs were technical and not very long so I figured I wanted some juice for this race since it had wendy written all over it. I got the slow start right but that was about it. I moved up from my 73 start position to the mid 40s without much effort but when I tried to start moving up the pack on the first lap I soon recognized that my legs were taking more of a hit than they should have...Climbs I should have been doing in my middle gear had to be in the granny so the backwards movement started. I rode steady but in a world cup that doesnt cut it. It started to pour rain and I got a little renewal of energy as I saw girls struggling in the technical. Girls were on the ground, running the chutes and running the uphill. I myself rode a clean race but apparently when you arent riding very fast its not much of an accomplishment. It still was not enough to move me up much...54th in the end.

So I am here in Switzerland trying to pull together the fitness and strength that I know is lurking there somewhere....I have trained a lot and put in the time so its just a matter of getting it to all come together. When it does watch out....I have some serious ground to make up.....

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