28 September 2007

Worlds 2007

After a month of trying to catch up with some race reports, I have decided to write these up at a later date. There are some good stories,some wicked races, and some awesome photos, (most of these you can find on my flickr site already) to come. In the meantime, I will keep you up to date with the current progress and as time dictates, and will endevour to go back and fill a few holes in. So now I start from Stuttgart where the World Road champs are happening, the current situation.

After not being to this city before, I was rather excited at first, but after arriving and seeing the layout and traffic that this city is famous for, I now know why I have not been here before. Finally a city that matches Auckland City, for it’s extremely bad roads, and highway layout. This is strange, as it is the car capital of the old world, with the oldest car factory in the world, Mercedes Benz (also home to the Porsche factory as well), thinking that they had the first roads as well, you would thought they would
have got it right from the start. I felt right at home sitting in traffic that was at a standstill, roads that have not been designed for the amount of traffic that wants to use it. Highways that start and finish nowhere, roads that take you though the busiest part of the city, it was crazy. Sitting in the truck for an hour or two to travel less than 20km, felt like the long journey back into Auckland city after a days work. The big difference is though there is no aggression on the road, no road rage, and no multi lane changers making life more difficult. More than an hour, and moving less than 5km, the poor GPS was working overtime to find a better way around the city. I had to find four Hotels, looking for four nations, to drop all the bikes and equipment for our Girls, then to find the Swedish hotel, my nation for the Worlds week, as usual.

Amber warming up on the course.

The Dutch hotel was first, for Mirjam, five bikes, many wheels and assorted bits and pieces. Easy as it was first on my list, and there was only one town in the city with this name (There are often two or more areas with the same name, and street names in Germany, just to keep you on your toes. Next up the other side of the city for the Danish Hotel, Trine’s TT bike, road and wheels etc. This was in a shit part of the city, and entering the small streets, I was wondering whether the truck would make it through. I didn’t fancy the idea of reversing a few hundred meters through winding streets with a pile of angry Germans on my ass. I found Trine, dropped off the stuff easily and then proceeded on my delivery route. I decided that the USA team can find me, and gave them a time which I would be at the hotel, a few hours later than what I thought I might me there. After some more Auckland like traffic, I found the town with the Swedish hotel in an hour or so later than I thought. I just made it in time, the USA mechanic just arrived as I did, I off loaded all Ambers stuff, bikes, wheels, and assorted trophies, and bits she was taking back home after the Worlds. I was done, just one bike for Luise in the German camp, but I would give it to the team on training day, as she is only doing the road race on Saturday, it was no rush.

Hey it's Trine, but she was too fast for the camera.

Working for Sweden, for the third year in a row, was getting easier, I knew all the staff, and all the riders. Of course and our own champ Susanne, in which Klas is always looking after her bikes. The team was a lot smaller than the last few years, but things change quick in this sport, and riders come in and out of form as you well know. I had two Elite woman for the TT (one last year), no under 23 men for the TT (two last year). One Elite man, Gustav Larsen for the TT (two last year), but he had his team mechanics from Unibet with him for the TT, so no work here. Three elite women, for the road race (six last year). And three for the men’s Elite road race on the Sunday, maybe two. So not so much work as previous years, but all the same, almost the same work load.

As much as I hate to say it, there are some pretty spanky bikes kicking around.

For our own team we have Mirjam, Susanne, Amber and Trine for the race. Racing for Holland, Sweden, USA and Denmark, respectfully. And Mirjam, Susanne, Amber, Trine and Luise for the road race. Not as many as the last few years, but pretty impressive all the same. The weather for the week is looking bad, so we see what might come of it. Rain is predicted for every day of week, and temperatures falling to lows of 10’C, so it will be pretty good for most of our girls, as they come from countries which are famous for their cold, wet and windy conditions. The TT has some pretty strong competition, but we should get at least a top ten with Amber (5th last year), and a top 20 for Mirjam and Susanne. But the road race should be good for those three as well, with Amber and Susanne, especially favourites for the road course. We see what happens.

The Mercedes museum, waiting in traffic again.

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