The riding here in Germany is pretty amazing. It took a little while to find all the sweet rides, but once you do, you are stoked. I can honestly say that Germany has some of the best biking I have ever ridden before. It's a lot different from the stuff that I am used to riding back in Colorado, but it's super fun. I have been doing most of my riding with Tad. He keeps me in place, making sure no matter what I don't get too big of a head. Even when I am feeling my best I will look over and see his heart rate, and its always 15-20 bpm lower than mine. Always.
Another person who I have been riding with a lot is Jimmy Deaton. For those who don't know, Jimmy is awesome. He is an amazing rider and even better person. He used to kill the NORBA XC and UCI World Cup DH Circuit in mountain biking primordial days and is here with USA Cycling coaching some of us and helping keep things running smooth. Its a fun crew out here. I also got a chance to meet up with another friend who lives about 5-6km from where I am staying in Kirchzarten, Calle Friberg.
Calle took me on a very fun ride that was a bit epic. The climbs here are a lot steeper than they are in the states and, they go on for quite a while. To add to it, they have a lot more roots and rocks, but still so fun! We climbed up for well over an hour and saw everything. It's sweet having such a knowledgeable guide here. He even showed me this sweet spring where you can fill up your bottles with the freshest tasting water ever.
Right before the amazingly fast, super sweet downhill, he got a picture of us and the valleys. Being here in Germany, eating really good food, riding even better single track with good friends and not working 6-7hrs a day has been a god send. I really have been able to relax. That's something that I have not been able to do in a while. It's really nice to go out and enjoy my rides, and come back and be able to truly relax and recover. I know it has been helping me out for these past few races.
This past weekend was the Bundesliga, Bike the Rock in Heubach, Germany. The course was awesome, straight up, straight down. It was muddy, it was a really good course for me. The day before while pre-riding I was feeling terrible. My legs felt like lead and I was struggling with putting everything together for a race run. Then the morning came and I got going with my warm up and I started feeling a lot better. I got a really good call up, like 4th row out of 12-13 (over 100 racers started the U23) and I went to the outside thinking I could dodge some traffic, and luckily it worked. We had a sharp left corner right out of the start and then after 80 meters or road we took another sharp right up a steep, wet, rocky, climb. The gun went off and I just went where there were openings, somehow I managed to go at all the right places and I found myself in the top 15 going up the climb. Instead of trying to go with the top guys, I set my own pace and settled after getting passed back by a lot of others who got untangled. As the race went on, I kept feeling better and better and I was working my way up lap by lap. Unfortunately, the top guys were throttling it, and I only made it 4 laps in, in 41st place. A really good finish for me. I feel like if I was just a bit fast on that first lap I could have made it one more, maybe even two, but, coulda, woulda, shoulda.
Although 41st isn't the best finish for some, or doesnt really sound that great, it is for me. It felt really good to be out enjoying my race, having a bunch of fun and riding well at the same time. I know that if I was able to stay in the race a bit longer, I would have been able to move up more. Its great to be having fun on my bike again. It took a lot of hard work to get here, and now I feel like I am really reaping the benefits. Well I am off to bed, I am hoping to get in some quality hours this week to set me up for these last few races here and the next portion of the year. And once again a huge thanks to all who have helped me, John Polli at Bikeparts.com/Peak Cycles, Marc Gullickson, Jimmy Deaton, Joey Ernst, My parents and all other family members, Sam Jurekovic, Mike Stoll, Chris and Jen from RGP's, Nelson Oldham from Dos Gringos Burritos and many many more! Thanks!