Drew finishes 4 peaks at Trans Germany

9 06 2013

Drew firing off the start in Lofer

Drew firing off the start in Lofer

Drew just finished up the Trans Germany, now called the Bike 4 Peaks.  Ridiculous climbs and technical descents were the flavor of the race.  He was pretty cooked by the end, but made a great showing with a 16th place finish (out of over a hundred in the Grand Masters Cat).  The Euros take their racing really seriously, so to be in the top 20 is pretty amazing.

Finished the “Bike 4 Peaks” today. Really fun event, brutally hard, glad I rode & & glad I am done. A day or two more would have killed me.

Ended up 16th overall in the Grand Masters (50+). Dropped one slot today.

Yesterday’s stage 3 was from Kirchberg to Kaprun all in Austria. The initial climb was longer & higher than we have ridden but at a much more do-able grade. Everyone starts at 100% effort for position every day (just like Leadville but up hill with better riders). We were all redline in the first 2 minutes. Climbed up a beautiful valley dodging cows all the way up the steep narrow dirt road.  Caught & dropped one of the pro gals who has been bugging us. She brings a chair & a masseuse to the start pen & takes up 5 places of space.  Toni & Wesley love it when I pass her.. Reached the snow-line & crested over a bit. My Garmin said we were 2k short of the top but I was thrilled to descend. There was a group of ice-climbers in a long line scaling the snow ridge to my left about 1000 feet above us. It looked like a picture from Everest. Around the corner we took a sharp, straight up hill left. Those climbers did not have backpacks – those were bikes and we were going up there. We proceeded to climb 2k & 500 meters vertical in the snow. We then descended in the snow. I consider myself a pretty good snow rider but every one with me could also ride it.

The single track section started just below snow line. The “roadbook” – the detailed route listing – says the first descent is -67% grade.  The steep section on the Link is maybe 20%, The Wall of Pain on flagstaff maybe 16%. What the hell is 67%? We dropped off a dirt road in to the section. It was a loamy groove straight down, filled with a few roots just for fun. The whole group just dove in. Off the back of the saddle, both brakes locked & tires just sliding & surfing. Really fun. The turns were grooved so there was no way to miss a turn. That is a DH I would never have ridden but in the group you just go with it.

We then had 30k upwind & up-valley to the next climb. I did have my aero helmet & was happy for it. I was ahead of a big group of riders & too far to bridge up the the next group. I towed the 4th place women 30k. She was very nice about it. “I’m just to small to ride in the wind”. The start of the last climb was straight up the ski area grass; steep like powerline but 200 meters wide & lined with people. The 4 Peaks guys just love to throw that crap at you. The last climb was not steep nor too long but it was a death march for me. No legs. Lost 10 minutes & a dozen places just trying to survive. The descent into town was another “flowy” trail. Brutal water dips you have to jump every 10 seconds. My back & arms were screaming for rest. Glad to roll in & find Wesley & Toni with beers & a great hotel!  18th on the stage & 15th in GC.

Today was the last stage. Long flat roll out with a couple “bumps in it”.  We rode on a pave & dirt bike path that was 2 meters wide. These guys were rolling at 50+ kph, 4 abreast negotiating 90 turns constantly. The group worked perfectly. No bumps, yelling or crashing. They told us there was one steep “bike walk” before the big climb but it was only 200 meters. Problem was they mean 200 VERTICAL meters. This was Powerline + steep & much longer. We were walking in 2 solid lines wheel to wheel. The 3rd place pro lady was to my right only she was riding – the whole thing! She was no faster & never got out of line. Just moving uphill at 2mph. She rides for “Squeezy” a Euro energy gel, so her butt says Squeezy.

Last climb was OK but as Phil Liggett would say – “he has hit the wall & is moving backwards”. The had changed the route which anyone who speaks German knows of course. I was really expected a summit at 69k but 69k came & went. Around the corner was a face with switchbacks & lines of riders – one more brutal clmb; those bastards never let you off easy here. I was riding in  a normal helmet today. At the top of the hill one rider bridged up to me – “you changed your helmet …… GOOD” and he then rode off. So much for aero-cool. All single track DH but this was pretty fast & ridable. Not too hard on the arms.Dropped to 21st on the stage but riding with my usual group. Held on for 16th overall.

Great event. They do it up like the Tour de France. Huge start/finish kites, giant bike expo & 1000 really good riders. This ride will humble you. You think you can climb – come on over. You think you can descent – give it a try. Pack riding – like a roadie. I could not train any more or better than I did (may be a few 10x Lick Skillett would be good). I rode every stage at the top of my game. No big errors or mechanicals. I felt like I was ripping it 100% & tons of guys roll right by me.

Consider it on your agenda.

Alps, Baby!

Alps, Baby!

Cow, Baby!  Classic Euro

Cow, Baby! Classic Euro

View from Ruhpolding Hotel

View from Ruhpolding Hotel

Ripping Singletrack

Ripping Singletrack

Bike 4 Peaks in the Books

Bike 4 Peaks in the Books. Congrats, Drew!

Luke Wins Short Track, and Drew Crushing Euro’s at Trans Germany

8 06 2013

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.

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