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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Racer Bikes Cup - Champery, Switzerland

After a enjoyable 3 days stay in Schaffhausen we started our race campaign properly, kicking off in Champery with a round of the Swiss Racer Bikes Cup International Mountainbike Series.

Our accommodation for the race was a Swiss Youth Hostel in the beautiful town of Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva. The Youth Hostel was right down by the lake which was good but unfortunately two railway tracks passed right by and at night it sounded like the trains were going to come crashing through the wall.

The weather which up until Friday had been very average decided it was time for summer and the temperature rocked up to 27 degrees with bright sunshine till 10 at night. It felt good to be riding with out jackets and thermals on. We had plenty of time to get a few laps in of the Champery track that afternoon and we were very impressed. Its only short at 4.5km but it is very technical and has a couple of nasty climbs that really test the legs especially later on in the race. Heaps of exposed roots and rocks litter the course and in particular the flatter parts where there are a couple of tricky sections that are very hard to ride with out losing traction. Not to be out done the descents are steep, literately chutes straight down the hill side with their share of treacherous roots and rocks and tight off chamber corners. Its a true test, you've got to have the skills as well as the legs to do well at Champery.

The build up for the race wasn't the best. We had all been sick, probably caught a bug on the plane and jet lag had made it hard to get a decent nights sleep. But come Sunday we were into it. 6 full laps plus a start lap was the order of the day.

It was very exciting to be lining up in the same race as riders like double Olympic and multi World Champion Julian Absalon and I was more nervous than I have been before a race in a long time as I warmed up. Call up to the start line was a bit tricky, my german isn't very flash so I had to suss out rider number 45 (I was number 46 ) and follow him up to the line. The gun went off and I suddenly found out whats its like racing against the best riders in the World in the Elite Men. It was easily the most intense race I have ever done. I moved up through the field into the top 30 after the first 3 laps but didn't advance much further from there finishing in 28th place. I found the pace very tough and dropped off losing a lot of time on the last couple of laps. At the finish I was absolutely shattered but pleased to have got the first race under my belt.
A weeks rest and I'll be ready to go for the next one.

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