We have been in Leogang, Austria for the past few days now for the 3rd round of the DH World Cup series. The rain has been relentless, but we expected it, so no surprise there. Sven has to shoot in the rain and the riders have to ride & race in the rain, so I had no excuses not to join them. The rain has been nonstop for the past four days, and as soon as the final race was done, it all cleared up as the sun came out to remind us that it was actually June and actually summer time here in Europe. A world cup race is quiet a frantic affair. Pits get put up, bikes get prepped, riders are rushing around, riding, warming up, shooting the shit. It is like a circus village that moves from one place to the next, arriving in these little sleepy mountain towns and stirring up quite a presence for the next few days. Everyone is busy with something or other related to this bike race. So when you attend one of these events, and you don't have anything to do with it, like racing or working it, it can become quite an overwhelming experience.
For me, the best part of coming along to these races is the fact that I am able to grab a map and escape the hustle and bustle of the racing village to go explore the surrounding mountains on my bike. The scenery here is beyond spectacular. The mountains don't look real, they are so picturesque. Everything is electric green, with waterfalls cascading from every crevasse, perfect Austrian cows with bells around their necks on every hilltop surrounded by the perfect wooden Austrian houses that are scattered across the mountains - some in such crazy locations, it looks like someone just threw a bunch of houses from the sky and they just dropped randomly across the land. Everything is steep. I mean really, really steep like you have to ride pretend switchbacks to get to the top steep. This is most definitely chocolate bar wrapper country with Heidi & Peter frolicking around every corner.
To me there is something very special about going solo. Just me, my endless thoughts, some good music, and the pitter patter of the never ending rain falling on my noisy rain suit. My knees are tender as I write this, from mashing my bike up the steeper than usual mountains, but somehow this is such a satisfying feeling to me. Crazy? Maybe.
I saw a whole different world and had a completely different experience to the one that was going on in the very same place. I was there, but completely removed. They were racing, Sven was shooting and I was exploring and experiencing another side of Leogang.
I saw the oddest things over the past few days - completely different to the usual things I encounter on a bike ride. Check out some of my snaps - this was my view of the world cup weekend in Austria.