Friday, June 8, 2007

Day trippin'

Kris and I were based out of Solothurn with the super cool Schneitter family but we managed to get in a few day trips to check out the area. We went to Bern, home of the Bernese Mountain dog (NOT the BurMese mountain dog from BURMA as the owners so often scoff at me - yeah thats you Dave and Erin!). Bern was great for shopping but lots of construction going on. Great chocolate shops so I had to taste test to make sure I could bring home the very best for Norm and the Malaspina Biology was research!

We also did a day trip to Nyon on lake Geneva to visit Myriam Saugy. I had never actually met Myriam but I had heard a lot about her from Norm and Stefan. Myriam is a Swiss marathon MTB racer who just came 2nd at the 8 day Cape Epic in South Africa. She gave us a great tour of the local trails. We had a 4 hour ride up the Jura mountains and then hit a restaurant at the top for a drink. Its pretty cool that you can stop for a drink in the middle of a 4 hr mountain bike ride! Myriam had this local dairy drink that is bright red, tastes like pop and is carbonated - wierd. Her English is great so we actually learned a lot about the area as we rode past black fighting cows, alpine meadows, and looked for a clear view of the Alps in the distance. Afterwards we went into town and checked out the festivals, Lake Geneva and tasted the local ice creams - Chocolate Delire (CRAZY CHOCOLATE!). How could I resist?


We were sad to say goodbye to Prisca and Eddy but it was time to move on to another race. Well rested and well fed we took off for Champery. It is a cool little town nestled in the snow covered mountains in the French part of Switzerland. Not quite at "altitude" but pretty damn close. Lots of roads that lead UP if you should so desire to go higher. We are staying in a chalet with Sandra Walters and Catharine Pendrel with lots of other Canadians close by. The course is great. Lots of singletrack, lots of places to pass and one crazy steep climb. Its pretty rooty which reminds me of BC. I was having some problems with my shifting after Offenburg but Robert and the crew from Shimano and Paul Walton from the Kona downhill team helped me out so I am set. The Kula supreme is dialed, my body is well rested, I love the course and I am ready to rip it up. Its time to start racing....wish me luck.

Biology geek

So even when I am away traveling for bike races I can never seem to lose my biology geek side. This trip was no different. I stopped mid-climb to look at HUGE land snails that are found only on the mountain behind the Scheitters house (Weissenstein). I learned about a local frog that carries its eggs on its back from the neighbors. I poked and prodded a big hedgehog (iegle in german) on the side of the road that had been hit by a car. We chased a chamois (deer-like animal) on our bikes until it bounded away into the woods. I tried to get close to this group of HUGE eagles? hawks? hunting in a local field. I caught a toad one day on the climb up Weissenstein. I heard about the local ticks in Solothurn that carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease and cause tick borne encephalitis (TBE). Good stuff.

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