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Showing posts from September, 2007

Racing is officially over…time to be a tourist

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The official count down! The gang Houshang (coach), Kiara, Me, Richard (Chiro), Chad (mechanic), Michel (Performance manager), Ben (physio). Yes it does seem like a huge staff, but COC has alotted funds for a performance team. Michel Leblanc, former national mtb coach is now Sport Performance manager for the COC. He was with us through the week ensuring all the things were in place for us to have good preparation for the event and to workout the kinks for next year. He was also our guide/host for some great sightseeing. The Birds Nest will hold the opening/closing ceremony and athletics. Check out that haze!!! After the race we got cleaned up and headed out for an eveining on the town. We drove by the Olympic village and related buildings and then did a walk around Tianamen square and checked out the official Olympic countdown timer. After that we went out for dinner. Again they served us Western Chinese food, but we got to have some mooncakes. Sept 25th is the moon festival in China

Race Day:

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The polution is definitely more noticeable today with the haze dexcending into town, but there is a nice breeze keeping it cool and clearish. The women raced at 11 and the men at 2. There were 24 starters in the women’s field. Only certain high ranked countries were invited and each could send 3 men and 3 women. Some nations or riders were not invited to participate, but travelled to China as Staff so they could ride and check out the course. Gunn rita was there, but did not race. There were atleast 5 different teams from China racing and I was a little curious of just how many uber fast chinese girls there were. The race was an opportunity for riders and staff to learn as much as they could about the course, conditions and logisitics. Some riders treated it seriously where others were their purely for information. I decided the best way for me to get valuable information was for me to race the course like I would any other race. It was going to be tough. There is no recovery on the co

China

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From my hotel window. The hotel had all the luxuries of home...except a smokefree environment Kiara and I flew from Graz - FrankFurt - Beijing. We had been expecting to travel with Max as well, but I guess he wasn’t feeling up to the trip. As we waited to board our plane we saw news flashes that a typhoon was to hit Shanghai that evening. Great. It was another sleepless 9hr flight for me, but the time change was only 6hrs from Europe so it wasn’t too bad to switchover. A “Goodluck Beijing” Team was there to pick us and the Aussie’s up and take us to bike storage and the hotel. We had to store our bikes at the mtb venue, as will be the preocedure for the Olympics, and then stayed at a nearby hotel as the Athlete village is not completed yet. It’ll be about 25km from the venue. The skies were clear and the pollution not nearly what I had expected. Maybe Typhoon Wipha had cleared the air for us. China was a different travelling experience than any I’ve had before. Usually I can feel my wa

Crossing Slovenia

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That mtn in the background is part of the Pohorje range and the site of the World Cup. Below is Maribor. Sunday, after riding around Maribor to check out some local scenery, Sandra and I packed up the Golf and Headed west to Portoroz and the Adriatic Sea. Although most Europeans seem to be great drivers, Slovenians miss this talent a bit making for intersting driving. On the way to the coast we stopped in Postojna for some cave exploration. We spent and hour and a half walking through underground caverns surrounded by stalactites and stalagmites. Although from the outside the place looked disgustingly touristic the caves were absolutely amazing. Stalactites and Stalagmites. The caves were huge and went from 80 to 150m down. Some caverns are so large they hold concerts in them twice a year. Neat, but bring your coat! After that long in the cool caves we were happy to return to the sunlight and warm temperatures and continued on to the coast. Although only a 2.5 hr drive we had to go th

Afterparty

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Best Bull rider ever! Sram girls crashed the Shimano party with Mike from Rocky That night we headed out for some typical Slovenian food. Basically meat and potato type dishes. After the 4 cross a popular Slovenian Band played ska/punk type music on the hill and we all got to have some fun. I gave Bull riding a go –mechanical - which was awesome. It makes you crazy dizzy though.

Slovenia: World Cup finals

Slovenia is an interesting country. Maribor, where our race was held, is in the North east corner. It’s a fairly typical European town and has lots of rolling hills dotted with church steeples. Compared to Switzerland it seems more natural, less manicured and there are way more trees, softwood and hardwood. In 2.5 hrs you can cross the country and hit the Adriatic Sea and the border with Croatia. Food is cheap, but hotels, laundry etc are pricy. The finals course proved to be very tough. The laps were only 4.5km or so, but the trails were demanding. There were a lot of singletrack climbs that were rooty or turned upwards sharply. Sandra and I got to line up side by side being numbers 24 and 25. The start was pretty good and soon enough I was able to pick my way up to the front. About mid climb however me and another girl interlocked wheels and I was brought to a standstill. After separating I got going again, but someone told me my quick release was open so I had to get off

A Warm "Homecoming"

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On Monday I was back at the airport and again headed to switzerland. Sandra picked me up at the airport and had truffles waiting. Yummy! We then headed back to her aunt's and Uncle's place near Bern. Sandra and her family are amazingly awesome. They had a bouquet of flowers and a Congrats cake waiting for my arrival. Having a Chef in the family comes in handy. Her relatives Sepp and Sonya were off to Slovenia the next morning where they are going to holiday and come cheer us on at The World Cup finals. Sandra and I started the trek to Slovenia that evening after getting in a good workout. We made it to Freidrichshaffen that night....only to find out we weren't actually supposed to be there as it was in the wrong direction. Ahwell, only 30km off track and we found a nice place to stay. German breakfasts consisted of a meet tray, cheese tray and buns, but it was pretty good. Travel Day two saw us through 3 countries as we passed between Germany and Austria a couple times to

Forgive my lack of eloquence, but HOLY ****

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You know those days when you get on the bike and your like, “ooohh I’ve got good legs today”. That was this morning warming up for the world Championships. I arrived in Scotland on Tuesday after a couple days and a race in Switzerland. We’ve been staying at this great hotel and have been completely taken care of so I was able to completely indulge in resting my legs. Yes I did get a little stir crazy at times, but got some good reading in. All the Canadians were feeling that the course was awesome. Although it was a little over constructed with all the corners being burmed, it was really fast and fun. I was also pleased to find a 10 minute climb to stretch my legs on, knowing that even in a world cup field I’m one of the strongest climbers. So it’s Saturday morning and my legs are feeling awesome. It’s overcast, but dry and I have a fun course ahead of me and a third row call up. Off the start Petra Henzi and a woman from the Netherlands crashed, but I was able to avoid the downed ride

Ich Bin Ausländerin Und Spreche Nicht Gut Deutsch

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On my way to a 4th place finish at the SwissPower Cup Finals Race in downtown Muttenz near Basel. Photos by Michel sturder www.msturder.ch Yeah!! I’m back in Switzerland hanging out with my friend Sandra and her Aunt and Uncle. Ricky Federau and I arrived in Zurich Thursday after a sleepless 16hrs of travel. Our VW Golf was waiting at the r ental agency and was the perfect fit for our bikes and gear. Awesome! With my second immersio n in German it’s getting a little easier and I’m picking up some good phrases thanks to Ricky and his remembrances of German classes as a kid. He taught me the lyric above - I am a foreigner and I don’t speak German well – a convenient phrase to have at my disposal. So it’s been a matter of trying to get our sleep schedule switched to this time zone, not an easy task and working the travel kinks out of the legs before Worlds. The three of us headed to Basel , near the border with Germany this weekend. On Sunday we raced the SwissPower Cup