After my stage dive into rocks and subsequent broken thumb a week before the Cairns World Cup, I crawled back into my hole for some intense hibernation. Unlike a bear, my goal was to become lean and mean for my upcoming European season. And, as a great bear once attested to “A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise” – Winnie the Pooh. So, even through wind and sometimes snow, aerobic and anaerobic conditioning was the name of the show, for surely they all would know that either I could go or be too slow.
Previous years Euro races have been reduced to ‘not being lapped’ so this year I was eager to try a little something different. At least until my quads get a little bigger. So this year I’m targeting smaller races like this weekend’s Cat 2 at Pec Pod Snezkou in the Czech Republic. After the World Championships and a World Cup in the last two weeks and most other Euro nations having their National Champs this weekend, I’m hoping the field will be slightly reduced in talent. Which is probably a pipe dream as it is in Europe and every person and probably even their dog can ride a bike exceptionally well! But targeting a race for a result is a lot more motivating than aiming to finish!
Even if some top riders turn up, I’m still looking forward to the race as thanks to my malfunctioning thumb, this year will be the first year I’m in Europe having not come directly out of an Australian Summer XC season. With the additional preparation time my power numbers have continued to increase and I’m feeling fresher and fitter. Along with Pec Pod, the next 10 weeks involve 4 more XCO races at Categories 1-3 and the Trans Schwarzwald Stage race in Germany. Where the calendar has allowed, I have tried to pick courses that suit me.
This course of course
The Pec Pod course is technical. The descents and climbs are littered with roots and rocks. Some of the chutes are tough to even walk down. The major climb is 400m long and averages 19% with a portage section up ‘stairs’ to start it off. And now it’s raining… And I can’t wait to race. I can’t wait to attack the start climb and battle for position into the first singletrack section. To race wheel to wheel with another person I’ve never meet but want desperately to beat. Only time will tell how things will play out. All I can do is hold it wide and let it slide!
To sign this little piece off, a thanks must go out to Mr. Pooh for being a continued source of inspiration and to my family for helping me with pretty much everything else! Thanks also to Mike and MarathonMTB as well as all the incredible sponsors for what they have done. Let’s go see what we can do!
One last one…
“When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen.”
– A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh