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.