The Black Forest area of Germany reminds me a lot of the Okanagan Valley. Beautiful hills lined with intricately formed vineyards, orchards and fruit stands selling fresh strawberries and asparagus. Needless to say I love it there. I always look forward to it and feel right at home.

Like last year, we chose to stay at Edy's Hotel in Ortenberg and just like last year we were spoiled with gorgeous food at their family run restaurant. On Mondays they close to prepare all the spices that will flavor their week's dishes. Each dish was cook and flavoured perfectly and had us well fueled for the race. Maybe that's why I felt good to do another lap in the race!

I had another good start. I always knew how hard you had to go at a start, but now I believe it and make myself do it! It's still a work in progress though and sometimes I forget the start is as long as it takes me to be at the front so sometimes I start well, loose spots and then get it back together. That's what happened in Offenberg.

By the end of the first lap we were still a large group of about 13. Through the start/finish I inserted myself as 3rd wheel. Never one to wait to see how things will pan out I attacked into the woods and by the end of that first section , which included the dual line descent and a solid single track climb Julie was the only rider on my wheel. She attacked me into the North Shore descent. From that point we raced together till the 4th lap. At this point I tried to make a pass before the North shore descent, but Julie could hold me off, i tried again, but another shut out. Julie led into the north shore and eked out a slight gap. I tried to close the gap on the fire road, but she was on it and over the next lap and a half she grew her lead and took the win.

I was happy to put out a great, if not a perfect performance. I'd still like to be the racer that makes the right move at the end of the race, that moves up in position, that can put out that decisive attack to get away or hold off the chasers. That's my homework for the next one!

It was a great weekend for Canada with Marie-Helene finishing 4th and Emily Batty claiming another 15th. Katerina finished 14th and Georgia 20th after a mechanical took her out of 6th position on 4th lap. We won the top team and a 3l bottle of champagne which between the 3 of us girls we managed to polish off by the end of a late lunch (I'll admit to being the lightweight).

Now it is back home to see how that garden is doing and what mischief my husband has gotten up to.

In Other Race News

It's been a busy two weeks of racing with former house mates Matt and Catherine winning the opening Canada cups of the year. Matt went on to win round 2 while Keith's other athletes Jean-Ann McKirdy and Sandra Walter knocked Catherine off the top spot this weekend.

Keith also did some racing taking 2nd in his age group at the newly started Nimby 50 Epic race in Pemberton, BC, a great event to take in if you get the chance and love great trails.