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,