Ah, so nice to have Internet access…. Just sitting in the Ibis hotel in Thonon-Les-Bains, France. Had a great supper here at the hotel with my dad, Gabby Day and Greg Germmer. Not bad food and excellent conversation. Great way to unwind after a good solid day at the race course.
Well, we stopped up last night in the public parking lot in the RV…. It worked out fairly well and we both slept until 9 this morning. I think I’ve still got a bit of jet lag but nothing too terrible. We hit the road just before 10 with a couple places in mind. First up was the Decathlon sports store – excellent sports department store and then a quick hit in the grocery store and we were off.
It rained today. Steady. Not crazy hard – just enough to make the course wet and a bit greasy in spots. First surprise of the day was seeing Luc, his wife and friend Johnny! They came from Belgium in their RV to watch the race. So had a few words with them and they showed us how to get to the rider parking. Pulled in next to Jonathan Page and had a good chat with him. Then it was off with Gabby to check out the course. It took us a while to get on the course as we kept on bumping into people we knew! So nice to be back here with the European racing crowd.
So the course…. Well there are lots of steep ups and downs but nothing that needs more than a sprint and a solid burst of speed to get over. There is the tricky off-camber onto the road – I tried this numerous times with multiple lines and cannot get it 100 per cent. So my strategy is to commit to get off and run the part where I’m stalling. The bumps in the BMX park are a lot of fun. There is an intense sand pit – it is not long but it is not rideable. The sand is sooo deep and very very fine – even running it is challenging. After the sand it is a big sprint up a steepish grass climb, a ride across a very narrow ledge and an almost straight drop down. Then up and over some very large steps/stairs and with only a bike length of flat ground, onto the bike and down a very bump and steep descent. Onto the grass, over some double barriers, tight turns and then onto the pavement.
So the course has pretty much everything. Steep ups. Steep downs. Sand. Bumpy grass. Pavement. BMX bumps. Stairs. Barriers. “Catch your breath descents”. All in all, a very fun course.
I got in three good laps with Gabby. Super helpful to ride with her. We tried different lines and gave each other courage for the two intense descents. Many thanks to Greg for hosing off my bike for me. Got some tips on tire pressure from Nicole and Danny – apparently I’m running too much pressure! 18 psi is recommended! Then it was off to number pick-up and the manager’s meeting.
Now we’re just relaxing at the hotel. The room is a mess with my bikes, went soggy clothes and various other things scattered about. Pretty good room considering the price – not spacious by North American standards but good for European standards.
We are heading out at around 9 tomorrow morning so we can get some good parking. Definitely nice to have the RV at the race – plenty of room to relax in and to get changed in. The awning is great to keep the bikes out of the rain as well.
I’m racing at 1:30 so send me some fast vibes then. Looking forward to racing the first World Cup of the 2010-2011 season. I’m feeling good. Legs felt good today. I feel confident about the course – there isn’t anything that is stressing me out. Good times tomorrow.
Marc is just about to start his race in Toronto so think of him now and send him some speedy vibes. The trip so far has been great. Wish Marc could be here to experience these races.
(I know promised to post some photos… But it is almost 10 and I haven’t dug out the stuff I need to download the photos… Sorry! At least this way you have something to look forward to.)
No guarantees on when I’ll get a race report up… All depends on the Internet connection. At the very least I’ll try to get Marc to post something on his Facebook or on my Facebook.
Remember to send me those speedy vibes!