yep, you've guessed it, I've been stateside at the colorado freeride festival for the 4th round of the enduro world series. We just wrapped up this race yesterday, after 3 days of racing in some very high altitude mountains where the air is so thin, you struggle to tie your shoe laces without getting short of breath, never mind racing some super pedaly bike park tracks. A lot of people came out here pretty early on to acclimatize, but I thought I'd leave it to the last minute & frankly, I don't really like the thought of having to get to races 10 days before it starts, so I'd have to make do and deal with the nice, crisp, thin colorado air. Strange, because the mountains around here look more like rolling hills compared to the Alps, but you just can't breathe. We had daily thunderstorms rolling through, which made for some nice hero dirt tracks, but also made our days pretty long due to waiting out the storms to go and practice the next days stages.
Some of the tracks were awesome, most of them were fun tracks to go and ride with your mates and have a laugh, but for the most part I thought there were way too many flat pedaly stages for a balanced enduro race, and way too many wooden bike park obstacles. There were some great technical tracks, but I just couldn't make up enough time on those bits to compete with the local xc girls on the pedaly bits. The race being held in a bike park, also meant that there was a huge local knowledge advantage, and for a lot of the tracks, if you knew them, you could really gain loads of time on them, knowing exactly where your braking points, gear changes and such would occur, and not having to tire yourself out having to practice them everyday. Anyhow, the race went down well, lots of fun bike riding was had, the Frenchies held their ground (as usual), some of the racers were mad that the one super xc stage got cancelled (definitely not me, as it was a lame uphill stage anyways). I ended up in 10th place overall, which I'm happy with, but it was a tad frustrating as I had Anne Caro seeded to start behind me (due to an injury she gained earlier in the season), so I had to pull over for her to get by on every run, which cost me a few seconds every time I pulled over and that added up over the course of the weekend. My fault for not being fast enough, but man, she is a hard one to stay in front of. She must have moved up a few places now in the overall ranking, so that will become someone else's problem at the next round, phew! I did have a ton of fun jumping & hucking myself again, but I do look forward to getting back to Europe for some steep, raw, exposed natural mountain tracks without slippery, wet wooden stunts, and without loads of pre-riding.
One of the highlights of my CO trip was catching up with some good old friends Linda & Stu from way back when & meeting their 5 year old son (he was just a wee baby the last time). Pretty special people, it brought back so many great memories and funny bike stories. Super thankful that bikes have been able to create such great experiences, friendships and strong bonds between people that will last forever.
Bloody well done to Jerome & Tracy for total stage domination - you guys are amazing! I'm pretty sure it was all the delicious meals we created & all the red wine and good laughs we had that helped Tracy to take the win ;) What a great few days rooming, riding & racing with Tracy & James.
I'm really looking forward to the next round in Whistler in a few days time - hoping I can find all the stages this year and not get myself lost again, that would be a good start and I'm just excited to catch up with some old friends, to go riding new trails, swimming in the lake, reading a book & having a few beers.
For now, the rental is completely overloaded with bikes and it's off to Colorado Springs to check out the SRAM offices and to go adventuring in the mountains with Jon Cancellier, Pang & Chris Ball - pretty excited about this!
Peace out, Anka xxx