Alpen Tour – Stage 3

The 3rd stage of the Alpen was cut down by 20 km to avoid the high alpine snow. Thus making the estimated win time 2.5 hrs instead of 3.5. Shortening races is never cool, but in these circumstances it was a wise choice.

After being the polite Canadian in stage 1 and giving away 175 positions in the neutral start I had a different game plan today. Elbows as wide as the Mississippi I made sure no rider threatened my top 25 position in the lead out. At one point a skinny pecker head tried to ride up the ditch then chop into my spot as a sign post was quickly approaching his line. He had 3 choices, sign post, my elbow in his gut, or to back down. He drifted back to were he belonged and I had a top 20 position when the start gun went off! Barry Wicks used the swerve all over the road tactic to scare the other riders so they wouldn’t pass him. It worked just as well. Once on the first climb it was chaos as euros sprinted everywhere, I dropped from top 20 to 50+ then back to 25’ish within a couple minutes as a lot of riders didn’t seem to understand the race was 50 km long, not 800 meters.

The stage was shortened but this probably just made it harder as guys could now ride faster without the chance of blowing up in a long stage. The route had 2100 M of climbing on a bunch of shorter 2-3km climbs, mixed in with some pretty cool trail, a bit of bike path and some gravel roads. It was a perfect mixture and provided for a steady day of riding. Starting hard worked well, as the race went on I slowly made my way into the top 20, with Barry Wicks not far behind as he was also having a steady day. Kris and Spencer were right in there as well as all of team Kona has been right together this race. I think we were all hoping for a longer race (except for our XC specialist, Spencer) as a lot of guys seem to disintegrate around the 3 hour mark.

The thing about racing out here in Euroland is that everyone in the top 60 of the 400 rider field is super fast. If you let off the gas for 10 seconds you’ll drop 2 or 3 positions. At the same time if you can find an extra gear for a minute, or clean a rough trail section you can easily jump a position or two.
All day there was a line up of 5 or 6 riders within a minute ahead of me, and the same behind. I’ve learned fast that its not worth ever looking back as there’s guaranteed to be someone there. All you can really do about it is put your head down and drive the pedals as hard as you can until you see the finish banner (thats if a snowstorm isn’t blocking it).

A nice change was the weather today as it didn’t rain or snow! A light shower or two and plus 8-10 degree weather seemed tropical after what we have been through. Mother nature doesn’t want to leave us dry and hanging for too long as she is pooring hard tonight with more of the same expected in the morning. Someone apparently forgot to give us the post it note the sun fell out of the sky when we left North America.

Leave a Reply