Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Trail Runner

Please, please, please. Go up a copy of the Trail Runner that is on the shelves right now. You'll find it in between Time and Newsweek.... or at your outdoor retail store.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chris and I continued our bike trip from telfes, austria onto bolzano, italz where we drank some fine wine late into the evening with, none other than, the greatest stair racer of all time – paul crake of australia. The companz was also graced with the presence of world mountain running champion, marco de gasperi and the illustrius martin cox. martin cooked. The pasta was not al dente.we peddled away late in the morning, straight into the italian dolomites. Two more days and several passes later we arrived at the sight of my first european mountain race from two years ago – heiligenblut, austria. We welcomed the chance to watch euro sport, catch up with the tour and take full advantage of the glocknerhof´s generous buffet.

The start list included world mountain running champion and two time olympian, jonothan wyatt of new zealand, three very fast kenyans and several top-ten world mountain runners – marco gaiardo (italy), robert krupicka (czeck republic), martin cox (great britan), marcos kroll (austria), david sneider (switzerland) and several others.

As three feet of snow fell on the course the two days before the race, there was a big possibility that the event would be altered (not cancelled) severely. But the sun came through the day before the race and melted most of it. The course would be very muddy, but not impossible.

The kenyans took the race out very fast and nobody bothered to go with the fastest of them. By kilometer two of thirteen I found myself in 11th and by kilometer four I had moved up to 6th. I spent the next couple k chasing down one of the kenyans while the swiss and the czeck pulled steadily away from me. At the front of the race, jonothan wyatt was busy trying to pull in the lead kenyan. All positions stayed the same though and the kenyan won in a record time with wyatt two minutes behind. I secured my fifth place position (my worst place and fastest time on this course) ahead of gaiardo and the other two kenyans.

The legs still feel a bit tired from so much racing in june and the readjustment to the bike touring. Ailments are migrating around my body sonambulistically. this will go away soon. I hope.

Tomorrow I´m off to slovenia to run a race up grintovec. 9.6k with an 1800m vertical climb if I remember correctly. It will be the first grand prix race for me for the season. The competition will be no less than from this past weekend.

Chris is off to watch the Wednesday stage of the tour and return to the states on Thursday. Map is falling apart rapidly. Finishing even cow girls get the blues. Getting ready to start the worst journey in the world. Mustache is holding strong. Down a pair of socks. Up a pair of socks. Etc. etc.

Friday, July 17, 2009

europe: round three

i arrived in europe following a rather brutal selection race in new hampshire and spent the first few days relaxing in geneva... not running. i put my bike together with ease on the balcony of my friend´s house rather than in the busy terminal as i had last year. everything came together perfectly, nothing missing, not even the st. so-and-so that my sister glued to the cap of my bike tube for added safety and protection.

on the fourth of july, friend and former assistant cross country coach from high school, arrived in geneva at 8am. we covered nearly 110k by dusk to arrive at chamonix and the clouds parted just long enough for us to get a view of the mont blanc summit from town. we rode through switzerland for the next week, up and over many of the highest paved passes in europe - grimsel pass, furka pass, oberalp pass, and several others. chris quickly learned that yogurt and granola consist of at least half of my meals. also, he got to experience first hand cave dwelling, rickey-style.

we arrived in telfes, austria a couple days before the european mtn running championships. not being european, myself, i was not able to compete in the big race but did manage a come-from-behind win in the open race the day before. i was about a minute slower than my time from last year which i was more than pleased with as i was amidst what felt like the flu. i shivered my way down to the bottom of the mountain and got a good night sleep rather than heading to the gymnasium where the party usually goes late into the night with czeck beer, food and song.

we rode from there to the top of brenner pass and trained down into italy for a night of food and wine with some of the mtn running greats: martin cox, marco di gasperi and paul crake. chris and i left the next morning at the crack of noon for some more passes and a stunning display of the italian dolomites.

currently we are in heiligenblut, austria for the 10th annual grossglockner mountain race. this will be the third time that i have raced here... twice i´ve finished fourth. next week, onto slovenia and then.... don´t know where.

the body is holding up to the pressure, but just barely. enjoying round three immensly.

please go buy a copy of Trail Runner magazine. it has a story in there that i wrote last season about racing, training, biking and traveling in europe. also megan lund is on the cover who´s a lot cuter than me on the cover.