Going Swiss

After World Champs in South Africa I got to spend another 2 days with team Canada taking in all-you-can-eat Sushi on the Indian Ocean in Durban, riding through Sugar cane fields and monkey havens with Maghs, David and Dan and of course the Tiger-Tiger Worlds after party.

      Sushi sandwich 

From there it was on to another adventure in Solothurn, Switzerland.  When I first raced World Cups in 2007, Sandra Walter and I stayed with her aunt and uncle in Bern for several weeks, loading up their Golf every weekend to head to the races.  There I also met the Schneitter’s.  Nathalie was one of Sandra’s teammates and her family welcomed myself and other visiting Canadians into their home.  They became my #1 cheering squad in Europe.

Below Sepp, Prisca, nathalie and Sonya

So it was back to my roots for a week with Nathalie and her family, speaking a mixture of English, French and hand gestures.  The weather was fantastic, great for rivers swims in the Aare, good rides and beautiful views of the Alps.  The Schneitter’s gave me a home away from home to make my 1month on the road fly by.

After a week of sun and 30 degrees some donner and blitz (my sparse Swiss German) lit up the sky and the rain started falling just in time for the Swiss cup Sunday.  The organizers put on a great event in Langendorf, only a 10 minute pedal from Nathalie’s house.  Rooty singletrack and fast roads to climb made it a fun and challenging course.

3 of the top 15 women from Worlds were able to make the race and I had a chance to redeem myself from the weekend before and more importantly prove to myself that Worlds was a bad day, not a representation of my current form.

I had planned/hoped to stay in the group of Ester Suss, Kathrin Stirneman and Nathalie for a couple laps and practice my group riding skills….but then I thought “attacking and leading would be more fun” so I tried that instead.  I felt great and opened a gap, which Ester Suss was able to close.  For the rest of the race we rode together.  She wanted to lead and I was content to gain confidence sitting on and ensuring I was there until the end of the race. 

Following has its advantages and disadvantages.  I got a draft, but was not able to make use of my faster singletrack speed.  This was the perfect race for me to gain confidence and try following rather than leading so I stuck to that plan.  On lap 4 of 6 I made a mistake on a climb and Ester got away, but I was NOT going to give up.  I chased her down and was surprised at how quickly I could bring her in on a climb when I stood up and hammered…she had just climbed her way to a 3rd place at Worlds.  We did another lap together and then I tried to use my climbing speed to get away on the final lap.  I was initially successful, but soon she was back on my wheel and able to sprint around me to lead the woods…exactly what I needed to do in order to get an advantage.  I chased her to the finish, but again made a mistake on a rooty climb and was not able to make up the lost time before the finish line.

I was happy to claim second in a strong field with Kathrin finishing 3rd and Nathalie fourth.  With a fun and confidence inspiring race behind me and a relaxing week with friends I was ready for World Cup finals.

Thanks Prisca, Eddy and Nathalie!!!!
Solothurn, Switzerland

Taking the tram up for a fun "recovery ride" down