Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Swiss Cup Disentis - European Cup Overall: Top 2!

Wow, what a sucession of 2 weekends: with round number 4 of the Swiss Cup in Disentis and the European Cup final in Châtel back-to-back. The race weekends had it all: sun, dust, clouds, rain, mud (a palette from sticky clay to dirty water), stormy winds, sleet and even snow!

Swiss Cup Disentis:  Disentis is one of the steepest courses I know. Usually the judgement of a course is at least halfway personal - but from what I heard I can safely say Disentis is steep for all of us. Between qualification and finals a lot of people expressed their protest by leaving. Those who stayed enjoyed a mild Fall day with good racing. In qualifications I had to re-run because I got a red flag (a rider went down just in front of me). So after walking back up to the top I got a very good run and won by 20s. On race day I was a bit less lucky and got stuck in the course tape leaving me eating dust while my bike stuck to the side of the course 10m above me. Getting back on my bike in a hurry was one thing - getting my mind back in focus the other... I am happy that in the end I still came out 2nd! The last race for the Cup and the season will be on Oct. 1-2nd in Bellwald, Valais. (You can find a German race report with picture of me here.)

European DH Cup Châtel (and overall European Cup):  Châtel was round 6 and the final round for the European Cup. Whilst I didn't take part in all of the races, with the great results of Todtnau (1st) and Leogang (2nd) I started in position number two... Can you say, hello athlete's pressure?!? ;-) Arriving late Friday night I did not get the chance to practice a lot - on Saturday morning it took almost an hour to battle the French way of bureaucratism and get my number plate, parking admittance, extra insurance and shower entry pass... I did the most out of the sparse practice time I had left and enjoyed the course. Due to heavy rain it was very slippery and I was glad I had mounted mud tires. Little did we know that we were in for another downpour. By the time our qualification started, the course had turned into a mudslide. It caught me completely off guard and hence I fought my way down and along the course. It was so slippery, that when you went off your bike you couldn't stand it back up without sliding away - quite like on ice!

For Sunday's race we even got snow! Due to last minute gear complications I had to rush to the start and was already worn out before I started. In a slightly less slippery course I ran 45s fastern than the day before - but not as fast as my competition. The 5th place was the result. But I wasn't really interested in the race placing but the overall ranking - I knew I only had to get a safe run in and it worked! In the final cup standings I was still 2nd! Wow, for a "I'll just try the Eurocup once this year"-plan I originally had this is a lot more than I had aimed for!

More pictures of the race can be found here.