Monday, 3 September 2012

What can I say? The Austrian life "ist gut"

I left Uxbridge last Wednesday with 120lbs of luggage (no, I’m not a Prima Donna… bike stuff just weighs a lot) and high hopes for the 2012 Mountain Bike World Championships in Saalfelden, Austria. Oddly enough, I was really pleased that I was on a red eye flight, as it meant I didn’t have to waste a day travelling. The flight was as uneventful as an 8hr plane ride can be (ie. less exciting than watching grass grow). I didn’t even have to use my creepy-man-diverter pillow – I ended up sitting next to none other than Mr. Antoine Caron, another of the XC racers on the Canadian mtb team.

The flight landed in Munich, where we met up and hung out with the rest of the team until our bus came to take us to Saalfelden. It seems like I’ve seen every kind of transportation there is since I’ve been racing internationally… planes, trains, vans, and buses. The only thing left is boats – and given my aversion to open water, I’m perfectly happy should it remain that way!

Some snow capped peaks we saw on the way in

 The 3hr bus ride went really quickly, and after some cool, winding mountain roads, we ended up in Saalfelden! The town is small, filling my first criteria for a relaxing place to be. The first thing I did was scout the town and surrounding hillsides for any castles (I have a small obsession with old/ancient architecture… castles, churches, you name it) and lo and behold, I found one! Unfortunately, you can’t visit the castle, because it’s privately owned and is currently occupied. Bummer.

Thirteenth century castle 

Just some mountain scenery

Our first couple days in Saalfelden left a little bit to be desired in the weather department. We did our first ride in ~8 degrees C and pouring rain… Never have I been so abruptly reminded about how much I HATE being cold! I can safely say that I am not looking forward to the winter. Fortunately, the weather turned nice, and even after what Scott Kelly described as “Biblical rains” (about 40mm over the course of a day and a half), the XC course was hardly muddy! Getting on the course was really exciting. It’s a super short loop, only about 4.5km, and it goes by REALLY fast. I’m predicting that the U23 women will be doing ~16minute laps. Good thing I brought 6 water bottles!
The course is unlike any course I’ve raced before. There is a lot of climbing (around 180m per lap), and the descents are wicked fast. There are a couple of features that will take some guts to commit to, but I’m pretty confident that I’ll get them down pat by Tuesday. I’ll try and get some pictures this week to show you guys what the course is like!

Cayley and I made a friend :)
Best reason to come to Europe - chocolate cereal
For the last couple of days, Cayley and I have just been hanging out around town and checking out the sights. As I said, it’s pretty relaxing here. The town is starting to get all set up for the events (Trials is taking place at various spots downtown… some right in front of restaurant patios!). I’m getting REALLY excited for the race – only 3 more days!!!

Most difficult thing I've had to do so far: figure out how to work the washing machine.


  1. Does that washing machine really have a KOCHWASH and a BUNTWASH mode?