Tuesday, September 20, 2011

2011 World Cup Racing & Travel part one

My year has been pretty amazing. I am already having a hard time remembering where we have been, so am creating a summary. I'll link to earlier posts for more detail.

2011 Races

This map shows where I have been, but Google Maps only lets you list A-Y. It ran out of little markers for all of the places I have visited this year so I tagged only towns where I participated in a cycling event. Todd was able to attend all non-USA races and a few USA ones with me. He spent most days working behind his computer while I investigated and came home with stories. We tried to travel together as much as possible but spent a good amount of the year apart. Luckily we'll both be in AZ for the winter and hopefully we can both agree on the same town. :)

From the beginning: 
After great winter base training in Tucson, AZ complete with Trips for Kids Events, MTB Clinics and Singlespeed Arizona (SSAZ) it was time to hit the road. Race travel began mid-February and ended with the September 4th XC World Championship in Switzerland. After Worlds, Todd and I spent four extra days sightseeing then flew out of Munich Germany to NM where I built up a new SuperSix road bike and caught a plane to Las Vegas, NV for Interbike. I am now back in Santa Fe, NM, with plans to head to Durango next week then possibly to VT and I'll have to find time to go to SD for a driver's license. Travel hasn't ended but racing has.

Feb 18th - March 9th
The first stop was the Mediterranean Island of Cyprus via London (post here/same as SSAZ link above). Cyprus is about 50 miles (80 km) south of the Turkish coast (west of Syria and north of Egypt). The national capital of Cyprus is Nicosia (Lefkosia). Official languages are Greek and Turkish.  Larnaca is home of the International Airport (IATA code: LCA). Since Cyprus is a former British colony the English language is widespread and you drive on the left side of the road in an 'English' style car. Cyprus is a popular European vacation spot because the weather is pretty amazing. The northern part of the island is occupied by Turkey and people really don't like to talk about it, although they said it would be perfectly fine for us to ride our bikes across the border (we didn't).


A:     Larnaca Airport
B:     Village of Voroklini, first housing rental and site of XC race #1 February 19th
C/E:  Larnaka, second housing rental
D:     Village of Kapedes, site of three day stage race in the mountains February 25th-27th
F:     Amathous, location of XC race #3 March 5th

March 10th- 14th
After being 'home' for 36 hours we loaded up the van and drove to Bonelli San Dimas, CA for ProXCT #1 (post here/same as SSAZ link above).

3rd in XC and 3rd in weekend's Triple Crown

(blog post of March 15th-April 16th with lots of South Africa pictures here)
March 15th- 24th 'Home' Tucson, AZ to begin building up 2011 race bikes

 March 26th-27th Fontana, CA ProXCT#2

 Great start, bad race. Cyclingnews.com photo.
Still on 2010 bike, not quite enough parts from Cannondale to ride my new bikes yet and 2011 kits were not available till Sea Otter.

April 15-16 Sea Otter Monterey, CA ProXCT#3

 Thanks to Scott Morris for a nice AZ photo and to Cannondale for the poster.

Best part of Sea Otter. SRAM Ladies Lounge.

 Sea Otter race photo ended up on the cover of the 2012 Women's Catalog

and on an inside page. Pretty cool.

Todd and I flew directly from Monterey, CA to South Africa for the first World Cup race the following weekend.

 April 17-April 28th Pietermaritzburg, South Africa WC #1

 Full SA blog post here

 April 28th- May 1st Austin, TX ProXCT #4

4th place even with a fractured back and food poisoning, so crazy. Cyclingnews.com photo

May 2nd- May15th 'Home' Santa Fe, NM Oak Flats XC race May 7th

May 15th-June 1st Dalby Forest, Yorkshire, England WC #2 and the Black Forest, Offenburg, Germany WC #3:

May 15th we flew into London rented a car, picked up SIM cards, waited on lost luggage, and drove ~4.5 hours north to Pickering, North Yorkshire, UK where Todd had found us a great place to stay.

Pickering Rental

The Cannondale Factory Racing guys were across the street and Jeremiah Bishop stayed with us one night on his quick in-and-out trip. Pickering is the type of town where you walk everywhere, to pubs, small markets, and shops.  You really wouldn't use the car unless you were leaving town.  However, the venue was in Dalby Forest which was driving distance away.

We learned that if you hit a pheasant (one of the animals owned by the Queen) you may not pick it up as that would be illegal hunting. But if the person in the vehicle behind you picks it up that is okay.

 Beautiful countryside (full of pheasants).

I participated in the Sprint Eliminator in town Friday and raced the World Cup Sunday May 22nd. My back was still fractured for these races and I didn't do very well, but we were really here for the experience and what a great experience it was!

 TT for seeding. Sprint Eliminator in Pickering.

 Cannondale Boys

After spending the afternoon at the XC venue I decided last minute to do the Eliminator. I mistakenly thought I could warm up on the town streets, but they were so packed with spectators that this was not possible. Most riders knew to stage with rollers in an alley that was closed to spectators, Todd had a rough time getting in and actually didn't make it in till after my races. Luckily I was able to leave my extra clothes with the Luna team but Todd had all my calories and water...

The Venue out at Dalby Forest

 Parallel tracks, a great feature of World Cup courses.

 Todd checking clearance on one of the A-lines.
I am taking the picture while standing in the B-line, after the drop you have to turn hard right.

Actually riding because there was an audience

The hard right from the A or B line will line you up for this.

Sign showing directions to Worry Gill and Medusa's Drop.
Spectator walking signs are everywhere telling you how long it takes to certain technical features. 

 Things for kids to do in the venue.


Osprey Europe.
It was a bit like Sea Otter with lots of vendor booths.

Todd watching one of the big screens during the last event of the weekend. We were both too tired to stand, I sat on the grass and didn't want to get up.

After the race we packed up and headed to Germany. As always there were a few things we hadn't considered. We had to go back to the London airport to acquire an insurance document allowing us coverage across the border, then paid an unexpected ~$400 to take the train under the English Channel.

Getting on the Euro Train for a ~20minute ride. 
It takes about an hour to queue, travel and disembark. And longer for those of us that didn't know to get a ticket online ahead of time.

Plenty of time to read all about the tunnel system and think about switching to driving on the other side of the road upon exiting.
We spent the night at a Comfort Inn in Calais, France thinking a known name meant a good hotel.  It was okay except that it was really dirty and there was absolutely no parking, we followed the advice of the guy who checked us in but were almost towed in the morning. Our best meal (ever?) was lunch at a tiny family owned restaurant in town, where you can watch the chef cook. We were ready to hit the road and just wanted a quick bite to eat. I had sous vide fish infused with fresh pineapple on a veggie puree. I had no idea what I ordered since we couldn't read the menu, but I watched it being prepared so knew exactly what was in it. Amazing. Although we were the only ones there, besides the family, it was nothing close to quick but well worth it.

 Calais, France (I think)

Maps and GPS required.

Things to think of renting next year. 

I used my Droid Global with local SIM and data shut off, but wifi is really hard to find.

We drove into Offenburg, Germany to find our next rental house, turns out it was the address of the landlord and the rental was located elsewhere. Our new landlord did not speak English but had a neighborhood teen ride along as a translator. We figured the place was just up the street. 

 We got back in the car and followed.

We drove out of the nice neighborhood, out of town, through a vineyard on narrow windy dirt roads, then into the Black Forest. At first we were worried about how far from town we were, then we started getting nervous about following a total stranger into the forest. Our landlord pulled over at the base of a steep road and told us to use first gear and go to the top. All we could see was a steep wall of a road disappearing into the forest. We drove while they walked up. There was only room for one car at the top and Todd was given a lengthy lesson in K-turns even though it was obviously the only way to get out.

Although it looks flat, this is the steep drive. Todd is pushing both our bikes up.

Steps, set one of three.

Once you made it up the drive you had to climb stone stairs to the gate, then switchback stone steps to the front of the cabin. Once entering the cabin another set of steep stairs led to the main floor, the kitchen was in the cellar, or entry level.

Inside the gate, switchback steps. Set two of three. Here the cabin actually comes into view.

The cellar-like kitchen, cold and wet.

Indoor steps to main level. Set three of three.

Main room, complete with flying witch (top right).

and mad girl in the rafters.

It is hard to find good deals and know what you are getting when you don't speak the language. Being alone in the Black Forest in a crazy cabin with post-it-notes that say (in German) "don't drink the water", little witches hanging from the ceiling and a creepy painting of the mad little girl, was actually really cool.

 No Towels.

This rental apparently did not include towels or washrags. Luckily, knowing Europeans don't do washcloths, I brought my own; but they aren't great for drying off after a shower... I ended up giving Todd an extra pillow case to use as a towel. The cabin did have a small Euro clothes washer which was great. It is pretty typical that even when you find a place with a washer there will be no dryer.

 We found a secret route through the vineyard and could ride to the venue!
We drove to Offenburg for daily wifi access and groceries.

Bike Rentals

Offenburg has bike rentals which make for a better way to access shops than by foot, you can pick up from one place and drop off at another using your cell phone.
May 29th World Cup Race #3 Offenburg, Germany. Exiting the Snake Pit (a mass of roots). 
The Offenburg course was really fun and a photo Todd took ended up on the BTI catalog. After the race we had friends over to our lost cabin. We used the wrong briquets for the BBQ, smoked out the entire place, the chicken basically tasted like smoke, but I had a great time eating local breads, brats, and sauerkraut while drinking German beer.

Friends. Todd with Melanie Spath and Cait Elliott 
Both Mel and Cait have blog posts about the races:
Mel's Dalby and Offenburg blog post.
Cait's Dalby blog post and Offenburg blog post.

The day after the race Todd and I went exploring the Black Forest, a long wandering ride looking at signs like this that didn't really help at all.

 Black Forest road/bike routes.

So that covers Feb through May. After going through more photos, I'll come back and update the rest of the year which looked like this: 

- June 11th SRAM Skills Clinic at Beti Bike Bash Denver, CO
- June 12th Beti Bike Bash XC race Denver, CO
- June 13-15th Fun trip to Salida, CO to ride with Scott Morris
- June 18th MTB Skills Clinic for a NMRoadRiders Santa Fe, NM
- June 19th Road Race  Los Alamos, NM
- June 25th ProXCT #5 Morris, WI
- July 2nd World Cup #4 Mont-Sainte-Anne Quebec, Canada
- July 9th World Cup #5 Windham, NY USA
- July 16th USA XC Nationals in Sun Valley, ID USA
- July 23rd ProXCT #7 (Final Series Race) Missoula, MT USA
- July 30th Tagging along on Todd's work trip to Germany
- Aug 13/14th World Cup #6 Czech Republic
- Aug 20/21st World Cup #7 Italy (Final Series Race)
- Sept 3/4th World Championship Race SUI