Race Day.... 16k, 1380m elevation = sore legs.


The easiest way to explain this mornings MTB race is probably to use a skiing analogy..... so here goes....

Most athletes can remember their first ski race, for me it was a southern region race, long before i started going to the big 'seeded' events. Anyway, upon arrival with my rear entry boots and skis borrowed from Bracknell Ski Centre, i had the nervous feeling of sh**%@ng myself while the skiers around unpacked what looked like enough kit for a ski/camping holiday - 2 pairs of skis, benches, various seats & picnic tables, extension leads & huge wax boxes... the list went on.

I sat with a few of the bracknell guys and was pretty overwhelmed by the whole thing. People were ski tuning (at the time i had no idea what they were doing), waxing, leg swinging etc etc. The pre race warm up was dominated by skiers jumping the lift queue, inside i was thinking 'hey thats not fair' however apparently those were the 'favourites' for the day and therefore were allowed to?! Unwritten rule apparently. You know the type, all the swagger, all the confidence, all the chat... all the girls....!

Anyway today was a little like that. At 9am we hired our bikes from Leogang, we then came back to Haus Tirol for 30 minutes as we had jumped the gun by a mile and would have been in Maria Alm for the race way too early. We arrived, worked out where we should be (using my broken german), got given a load of bits and bobs and then waited. A commentator chatted away to the favourites and i stood there trying to work out who the 'Steve Lambert' of this biking world was or the 'Dave Ryding', or the 'me' for that matter. Then along they came, right in front of us, the big dogs, giving interviews and all the rest of it. Skinny as anything with all the gear.... 'Here we go again' i thought. We are about to get pasted!

But that wasnt the funniest thing, no no, the funniest thing was that un-intentionally, we had positions ourselves at the front, right behind the lead car that would drive us out to the starting line. OOOOPS. Surrounding by guys with clip in shoes, raring to go, the 5 of us in our running trainers on bikes we have never ridden, were about to hold up what looked like a lot of pro's. But never mind, the car started and with that we pushed off, and tried to blag our cycling prowess.

We were found out however and only after the race did i realise the noise behind us on the 2km to the starting line up was Mr Macfie slamming on his disc brakes and going over the handlebars, but casuing minimal disruption apparently.... (he was that punter kid on race day that keeps missing the lift and holds up the queue). I wondered why Euan arrived at the finish so much later!

Anyway we were off, 16kms to go, 1380m elevation to climb. The guys we had been holding up whizzed by us (there were about 280 in the race) as if they were riding flats. The pain set in pretty quickly but we soon got used to that. The rest of it is as you'd expect, legs filled with lactate burning away and that always annoying moment, of getting round a corner hoping for the finish to find another 10 switch backs. I certainly had a nice moment when trying to breath in and eat an Alpen Bar at the same time.

Anyway, we made it to the top, myself, Paul & Barney all under 2 hours and ahead of a fair few riders, Euan slightly longer but had a good story to tell (he got lost on route too). Imi sadly did not make it up but made it 3/4's of the way on a very tough climb. I am not certain what the best guys did it in - we will have to wait for results - but i recon a damn site faster than us.

Next year we'll be using clip-ins for sure!! Damn hard & good training that's for sure.

Gym at 6!

Aaahhh the pain....Must.... get..... air......

Casual from Paul..... been riding like this the whole way....

Few shots whilst waiting for Euan....

Well deserved Tea!

Mr Macfie arrives!!