Luke crushed the field in last Wednesdays Short Track sporting the new Team jersey (junior edition).
Drew is over in Germany throwing down some serious climbing against the best that Europe has to offer.
Here is his account from days #1 and #2: WARNING: Bliss said the following account made his sphincter quiver. If you have a fragile sphincter do NOT read further.
Tough day today. Dropped a few places – finished 16th & probably about the same in GC. Only riding about 5 min slower than yesterday though so I h=am hanging in there.
Stage one was a hard race. Rode over threshold for anything that was flat or uphill. I was pegged but was deep in a big group of riders. That was a great race for me. I have never raced that hard in the US. These guys & gals can climb! Climbs are uber steep. The start climb was 75% grade – though that was a joke. Everyone crawled up it bike on their back. Had a terrible start block assigned but just moved myself (like Thomas would) up to about 300. Then off the line about 20 of us sprinted on the parallel bike path right up to the top 50. 20k battle in a huge pack to hold your position.
Today was a bigger stage. 2500m climbing. 14% short first climb but of course everyone is going 100%. I set my personal record for VAM (vertical meters ascent). I was positioned well but took a big face of mud on the descent – it is wet & muddy here. Had to stop & take out a contact so I lost a bit & my train. Did not have the fast helmet – could have used it for the wind.
The monster climb is to the top of the Kitzbuel ski area up the famous Hannekam DH course. Only a 11k climb but it was 10-14% & relentless. Don’t have to worry about gear selection. Just put it in the smallest I have & grind. Climbed into the snow at the top. We descended on the “new” world championship course built for the UCI World Marathon here in 2 weeks. By new of course they mean – build last week. Brand new very rough terrain. 3000 feet drop in 7k. Their site describes the top a “selective” and the bottom as “flowey”. There must be a German translation problem. What “selective” really means is terri-fucking-fying. It is major world cup technical with roots, drops, vertical off camber turn/drops. What “flowey” means is dense wet roots with 12 inches of mud flowing over them. I have never raced nor ridden any course in the US that difficult. I am actually a better descender than the group & am riding with so I am generally moving up in the group on the DH.
Tomorrow – another monster climb of course right out of the start. Does not look quite as steep which is good for me. I am happier at less than 8%. Still in race mode – have not yeet stooped to survival mode but it is coming.
Good beer. Good sausages.
Here is Luke cruising to the win.