Hello! Okay I realise I am not getting any quicker with these reports but as they say better late than never & internet cafe's have to be saved for poor weather days in my opinion. One big plus of late is that Cabin has been ace at scheduling my recovery/easy days co-incidently with the rain & cold - less than 10deg & steady rain out today...brrrr. I have however had a good bit of practice on this Offenburg course in the wet as I have been based in the lovely nearby town of Durbach for the past 2.5weeks, staying at a local winery. Great place, nice wine (hic!) & great training most importantly!
The other mucky biking practice came in the form of the Bundesliga (German National Series XC Race) 'Bike the Rock' at a place called Heubach on Sunday. Again, I was as happy as a pig in s#*t as the course was quite muddy & the descent slippery - many a rider tripoding or skiing in practice! So we -Aussie rider Kat O'Shea & partner Ray accompanied me in my little Peugot red rocket - pootled, no, hooned up to Heubach Sat to get in a practice lap/2 ahead of the race Sun. It is an 'HC' Category race which is quite up there in UCI points so always attracts a quality field apparently. My enthusiasm for another wet/muddy race may have got the better of me as I cranked out some efforts in practice & felt great...'til the next day warming up that was!
The course was simple, you climb up the hill & then you come down it - the 'D' was wicked & once again the spectators sensational! A beer tent was set up on the plateau at the top & every lap they got more & more rowdy as the commentator announced us through. All I caught was my name & 'Nusseeland!' then a chorus of cheers. Many other spectators acquire a start list & cheer you on first name basis. Gives you a nice little perk, knowing the whole crowd & all... haha! To give you an idea of the calibre of race Julien Absalon won the mens & Irina Kalentieva (World Champ) was 5th in my race. I think it is fair to say she perhaps did not have her best day.
I managed 16th place. Rosara raced also & finished up ahead in 13th place. I was happy enough, although a little disappointed I went backward up the climb after a great start (if I do say so myself). The legs definately felt flat until the next time up the climb but hey, my first was still my fastest lap so it can't have been that bad. What I did learn was that added weight & effort riding in mud drains the legs more so be conservative in your pre-ride in such conditions. Seems a simple statement but when you feel good it is easy to get too keen.
In other news, I can speak a little French & German & a combination of both at the wrong times! However creative charades remains an essential communication tool. Great fun. Jeanette & Jase Gerrie are in Durbach too so we have been going to the pool & bakery & the bakery again. We went for a drive up to the nearby mountain range, & saw a ski jump like at the Olympic normal & big hill ski jump events. Yeah, they have balls. There were three sizes. We climbed up the launching seat of the big mother & it was pretty daunting looking down not being able to see where you will land! Of course it was just grass, no snow at the moment but you got a pretty good persective on the sport of ski-jumping. Also spent a day in Strasbourg, France visiting a few interesting spots & learning a bit of history about the Strasbourg Cathedral that Jase stirred up from somewhere. It was really interesting. I will have to post some photo's when I get home & relay the lesson to you. Watch this space...
Enough of my jabbering, I'm off to the supermarket (another essential part of my week). The deli meats in Germany are sensational! Being a farm girl I can't go long without a good serving of red meat so this is perfect. I am also going to clean my bike, a bit of a daily occurence at the moment. My Avanti has had a bit of a hiding in the conditions over here but is holding up grand & we are looking forward to another tough but good outing this Sunday at Offenburg...
Thanks for reading, touch base again soon :) Tschuss!