Can Someone Pass Me My Rain Jacket

Well it rained again today, all day long.  We hoped we could get out for our ride in the forest with out the rain but it was not to be.  So now after a super fun 2 hr ride in the Forest around Limburg with Tim and Peter aka Puma I now have about 2 hrs of cleaning and fixing a dirty drive train.  Ya, I’ve left that to do tomorrow…

Tim’s coffee grinder he ordered on Thursday finally arrived today so we can now enjoy a Da Capo espresso from half way around the world.

This evening I went to Sittard with Tim as he had a massage scheduled w/ his Physiotherapist friend Ben.  We walked around the old part of town which was pretty cool.  I now see how Brunssum is considered to be more of a modern city.  Tim saw his first “Subway” restaurant today too.

Pop is expensive in Europe.  In the restaurant today, it cost me 1.80 Euros for 200ml of Coca Cola Light…no free refills here.

Nothing special planned tomorrow.  Just some training and maybe catching a flick in the evening – Blades of Glory is opening up tomorrow.

Thank goodness for gas stations stocking Nutella ’cause we are completely out,

Mike

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Rainy Rain

Some how I managed to complete 4 hrs of training without getting wet, eventhough there was a huge down pour here in Brunssum today.  In the morning I ventured off on my own and used my GPS cycling computer to navigate my way home.  I made it back so it was a good day.

In the afternoon I took a drive with Tim’s parents in the nice Audi and I received a tour of the country side where the Amstel Gold race takes place.  Wow, the Keutenberg is so steep!

This evening I borrowed Fred’s road bike and joined Tim at the track for a little velodrome racing.  I initiated a bridge to the lead group a few laps in and Tim jumped up to me as did 2 other guys, and I lasted a few more laps of fast chasing until I had to turn it down as I was feeling the effects of my A.M. training session.  It was definitely some fun racing.

 That is pretty much it for today.  Legs are tired and I am looking forward to some sleep.  Hopefully I can get up at a decent time as I have been sleeping later and later every morning as the room is very dark so I don’t know what time it is.  Better set the alarm.

Mike, Out.

Rest Day

After travelling in Germany last weekend today was nice as I stayed in Brunssum today just hanging out.  It was raining pretty much all day long with only a few short breaks in between showers.

After sleeping in a bit Tim and I went to the store to pick up some food.  Then for the afternoon we debated as to ride or not, and every time the rain let up and we were about to get up to get changed, it started raining hard again – so we watched Dumb & Dumber instead (with the Dutch subtitles on so I can learn some Dutch).   Eventually we got out on the bikes for just over an hour – a nice ride in the warm rain.  I don’t mind riding in the wet when you don’t get freezing cold that’s foresure.

There is not much planned for tomorrow but training.  Pretty soon it will be off to bed.

Night Night,

Mike

Bike the Rock

Since there was no internet access for me in Germany (I didn’t want to pay) I have posted a couple of enteries at once, so read the previous post first in order to get the full effect of my adventure!

Today was my first race in Europe and coincidently it was at the highest level (just below the level of a world cup).  After some meat and cheese sandwiches for breakfast (the is Europe) Tim and I relaxed for a bit and took our time getting ready as our start was not until 1:30 pm. 

Once we got up to Heubach it was a little tricky to find parking.  There were a couple thousand spectators and very like parking at and near the venue.  We found a place to park up in the neighbourhood near the course – a first class spot.  We even got the okay from the owner of the house we parked in front of.

There were about 140 guys in the race and I had plate #90, which means, oh, I get called up in about 130th position.  I still had to hold my ground on the start grid as guys still tried to invade my “space” and I had to tell them to backoff.  Tim’s friend Rob hooked us up with Eric, a junior racer from a Dutch team, who would feed us today.  So when we delivered our bottles to Eric I got to meet a few of these Dutch racers who were all pretty cool.  I ended up lining up close to those guys. 

It was pretty cool just before the start, as the Germans pumped out some AC/DC “Highway to Hell” before the start.  There were a lot of spectators around too.  So, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, go!  5 pedal strokes later – crash!  Well not me, but I had to slow down from my 5 pedal stroke start to get around it.  So I’m off up the paved section of the climb, passing guys as I go.  Then we hit the 180 to go up the doubletrack climb or as I would refer to it as the “Highway to Hell”.  Learning from the Jedi in Phoenix, I’m like, frick this, I hope off my bike, cut off a bunch of german dudes, and cut the corner and start running up the hill.  Man, I must have passed like 15 guys.  The reason I know this is because they all passed me back near the top of the 11 min summit.  Crap, I was at max and I was going backwards…but I did pass someone before getting spit out the back – Kashi Leuts.  He was going so slow.  As I rode by I asked if he was okay.  He was suprised to hear english and just kind shook his head – bad day.

So my concern of decending the downhill w/ guys running turned out to be not much of a concern at all – ’cause no one was around me!  But it was fun to rip it like Roddi anyways.

Up the climb for the second lap was kind of cool I must admit.  The German fans were crazy with their noice makers and chants.  In the 40% section, they really cheered loud so I lifted my pace a bit and they cheered even louder.  Then on the false flat section near the top I saw the homeowner we parked in front of.  He was going bananas for me (and Tim too I heard).  He was cheering so hard for us – I guess because we chatted before.

One of the Dutch riders from Eric the Feeder’s team crashed and broke his frame.  Funny thing is that he didn’t realize it was broken until after another 2 kms as he began to climb again. 

So, it was a cool experience but a bad race for me.  My max was not max enough to stay with the group, which was disappointing as I was pulled w/ completing only 2 laps (with one other guy at the same time).  But because the course was so short it was easy for the leaders to come around on you.  It was really neat to get so many cheers but Tim figures it was because I was at the back!  Hey, I’ll take it any way I can get it.

Now we have to drive back 5 hrs to Holland and do some good training so next race doesn’t suck so much. 

Hearing your last name pronounced over the speak by german guy as you go through the start finish sounds funny,

Mike

 

The Way to Heubach

From my European home base in Brunssum it is about 5hrs by car to the race in Heubach, Germany so Tim and I rose early in order to arrive at the course in the early afternoon.  Part of our journey took us on the Autobaun – where there is no speed limit.  We were driving at 140-150 km/h and we were being past with authority!  Check out the video of us driving…

The race on Sunday is part of Bike the Rock MTB festival in Heubach.  The race itself is a UCI HC category, which means it is just one level below a World Cup.  The start list features the current World and Olympic Champion Julien Absalon, U23 World Champion Nino Schurter, Christoph Sauser, Roel Paulison, Hermida, Bart Brentgens, Filip M., Michael Broderick, etc, etc…so it’s going to be FAST!

The course itself is short – only 5 kms in length with 1 long climb of 246 m and 2 quick decents.  The long climb is a smooth double track with the odd small rock and features a taint busting 40% section of climbing which requires the granny gear for most mortals – including Tim.  The first decent just cuts back and forth up and down the banks of a fire road and the 2nd steeply switchbacks down the hill.  The decent is pretty fun to ride.

Since Heubach was pretty busy for the race, there were no hotel rooms available so Tim and I stayed about 15 mins away in nearby Schwabish Gmund.  We found this little motel tucked in behing Moma, the Germany version of Ikea!  Dieter at the hotel (seriously his name was Dieter) suggested Moma’s for dinner as it was a good price…and it was.  We had drinks, salads, and pasta dinners for 20 Euros – total (10 Euros each).  It was great.  And to further our discount was a trip to Lidl’s.  I bought 2 2L bottles of water, 1.5L of orange juice, and 1.5L of Coke for 3 Euros!  Good deal eh.

After dinner we just relaxed in the hotel watching German television.  I was pretty pooped out from all the “not driving the car” so I turned in early – (9:30pm).

There is nothing on TV to watch when it is all in German,
Mike

  

 

I’m in Holland, Isn’t that Weird?

Well today was my first full day in Holland and it was pretty darn good.  After sleeping in a bit (I only was awake once last night) Tim and I went “downtown” to buy some bread and find a coffee grinder.  We got bread, but no grinder yet.  All we can do is sniff the bag of our nice Da Capo coffee beans.

Later in the day I went for a ride w/ Tim and his bike mechanic friend Eric to the velodrome as Eric was to do a power test.  It was pretty neat to see the ‘drome where Tim has dominated for years.  Even the owner asked him to slow down as he was “losing business” w/ Timbo riding so fast.

My post is brief tonight as I have to get to sleep now as we are rising early to drive 5 hrs to Heubach, Germany for the race on Sunday.

Did you know there is hockey in Holland?

Mike