By Dexter Alumnis Adam Craig, Olympic hopeful: Basically any time a week of racing bikes somewhere kicks ass we're going to do a Ten Reasons piece. There's just so much to tell on these perfect weeks that there would be pages and pages for you, the unfortunate reader, to wade through. We'll just condense things a bit here…
Ten Reasons why World Cup #2 in Offenburg was the bollocks:
10. Turnaround… After driving to the best place in the whole universe, the Nurburgring Nordschlieffe, only to find it closed to Touristenfahrten unexpectedly, then driving through rush hour traffic to get to our beloved Feirenhaus Woerner in Durbach, Germany, then riding in the rain and dark instead of the Belgian sun team morale wasn't exactly low, but it sure wasn't at an all time high. Then, the turnaround, Elke and Tom brought home delicious dinner (not just schnitzel) from the local Winestuba and all was good.
9. The Ferienhaus Worner. This place is awesome. Lots of awesome stuff happens here, like a previously unarable piece of vineyard being swiftly converted into terraced perfection, ready for grapes to take over. The view is nice too… Which works out well, because we were completely enthralled with watching the Excavator operator paint lines on this particular canvas for the better part of an afternoon. In between watching the vineyard cats stalk things…
8. Uncut macaroni… Elke likes to keep us on our toes at the grocery store. This time she found some pasta that was essentially spaghetti length mac. Awesome! A delicious bolognaise sauce covered it's enhanced surface area quite well… That wasn't enough through, we had to innovate a bit. The mac snail was born… Roll up your mac, stick a toothpick through it, garnish as desired… Yup, we get pretty bored.
7. Unexpected quality single-track. After a couple days of R and R, Oli and I headed out for a "few hours steady on the road". We made it about half of that before we decided we were "lost" and had better follow this trail sign to some town we recognized. Before we knew it we were getting strung along a pretty epic ridgeline single-track with signs to the Mooskopf, which I vaguely remembered seeing signs to last year. We committed to my memory and wound up doing a sweet ride to the highest point in this corner of the Black Forest, just as the clouds broke. Awesome!
6. A darn good bike track with roughly a ton of people out to watch. There's a bunch of trails in the Offenburg 'burb of Rammersweier. Most of 'em are pretty fun when the dirt is absolutely perfect. Like concrete perfect. With perfect 70 degree and sunshine. And proper thousands of people, a LOT of people, most of whom adhered to the German spectator code, that being beer, brats and YELLING… It was rad.
5. Respectable start position and narrow start loops. When you're on the second and third row, as Oli and I were, you can actually race from the gun. It's handy.
4. Good legs. Yup, good start position and good legs mean you get to ride at the front. It's kind of strangely easier up there. Stay with the group, get a bit of draft, try not to crash into something someone else just jumped over, don't even try to respond when Absalon attacks and things will be surprisingly manageable. When you have the aforementioned really good legs.
3. Ill fated "attacks". I don't think what I did really qualified as an attack, but on the fifth lap, after sitting in a bunch and thinking I was riding comfortably with the leaders, I figured I'd try my (meager) hand. This hand pretty much involved thinking I could ride 1k of the course faster than the rest.
A downhill bit, not surprisingly… To earn this opportunity I pulled the second place group of five around the whole fifth lap. I figured that would get my karma in order for a low-blow singletrack surge. I was foiled. Some swiss guy, Florian Vogel, jumped me into the woods and I had to do what I'd already been doing, ride plenty fast and have a good time. But not get a 1-3 second gap of glory as I'd envisioned. I figured I'd try, a top three result being an automatic Olympic Spot and all…
2. Being Humbled. After a strange uphill root bobble by Flo I led the rest of the lap and was still feeling spry. Then the real guys started playing their (substantial) hands. Sauser surged and blew things to bits. I got dropped. Then I got a bit tired. The big ring challenge was getting to the good legs. Weird… Damage control went into effect and worked out fine, I slid back to 8th, a coupe minutes off the winner. I'll take it at World Cup #2. I'm not even supposed to be in shape yet… That's OK though, Oli and I have a good training camp planned in the French Alps so we can get ourselves together. He was wise enough to ride the Anthem today and had a good time ripping around, ending up 30th. We can both build on this week for sure. It'll be good.
1. Relaxing. We've been doing lots this week, and it turns out it's good for you. Makes you fast, and fresh, and generally promotes good feeling. (but doesn't completely cure clumsiness, as we broke two glasses and two plates this week…) We ended the week with some nice sunset relaxing with our hosts, Rita and Felix, along with the Slovenian women's team who stayed downstairs, enjoying some of their fantastic local Weissvein and Rotvein.
Overall this week kicked ass.