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Evelyn Dong Blog: My First Euro World Cups, Autobahns, and Go Pro Games

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |July 29, 2014 12:30 AM
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Ramblings with Evelyn Dong

My First Euro World Cups, Autobahns, and Go Pro Games

The Albstadt World Cup was about a week and a half ago at this point and the Nove Mesto World Cup about 2 Ĺ weeks ago...plenty of time to gain some perspective. More accurately, itís been just about the right amount of time to tint those lenses a rosy hue and think, "Hmmm, I guess getting shoved and yelled at in 5 different languages, and going OTB into Czech rock gardens isnít so badÖĒ

But really, it wasnít so bad. In fact, it was downright fun. Starting nearly last row in both Nove Mesto and Albstadt, at the tail end of an 80-90 person field sure makes you fight for every spot. It makes you question why you race in the first place, but in a good way. Deep philosophical queries ran through my mind - Was I the type of rider that just races for the win or was I willing to scrap it out for 30th or 31st? Was I willing to dig deep on the uphill even when I had no idea what place I was fighting for?

Nove Mesto was a race of survival, discombobulated by the huge field and 30,000 drunk Czech fans. In Albstadt, I managed to focus a bit better, and the only sounds I picked out were familiar American cheers, namely from the Battens, who have been touring around Europe in an RV and riding spectacular singletrack in the Alps.


Non-Racing Musings

Rental cars in Europe can be a bit of a crap shoot - I remember one particular trip from my nordork days, stuffing three ski bags containing about 50 pairs of skis, three duffels, two grown men and one half-grown girl into an ADORABLE Fiat Punto, and taking the scenic route from the Zurich airport over Julier Pass. While it all worked out in the end - no gear was left behind - the only downside was one very carsick backseat passenger (myself), due to an inability to see out of my tunnel of skis and gear combined with twisty alpine roads. I had also managed to slightly OD on Sominex in an attempt to maximize sleep on the flight over, so my head gently whacked the pile of skis on every left hand corner, much to the amusement of my two teammates. But, I was a rookie back then, not the seasoned traveler of today...

Thus, when Chloe said she rented a minivan for the three of us (Erin Huck, Chloe Woodruff, and myself), I figured itíd be a cinch to cram it all in. "MinivanĒ seems to be a fairly liberal category in Germany however, and our VW Touran would certainly have fallen under the category of station wagon/hatchback here in the USA. But, jet lag be damned, we played a short and efficient game of car tetris outside the Frankfurt flughafen, neatly slotted in three bike bags, three duffels, and ourselves, and were on our merry seven-hour drive to Nove Mesto.

A week and a half later, somehow, things didnít fit quite as neatly in there. But, nothing needed to be left behind or strapped to the roof, so it was considered a success.

Our rental "minivanĒ may have been the tripís highlight, after racing, of course. A 6-speed, German diesel on the autobahn = fun travel days. Also, my shoddy conversion skills contributed to a lack of any idea of what speed we were moving at. Letís just say that rallying my Ď96 Ranger down to the GoPro Games in Vail this past weekend felt decidedly different.


Home Again (kind of)

Speaking of Vail...yes, I decided to head down to race the XC mountain bike race at the GoPro Games after a minor travel hiccup and a few short days at home on the Wasatch front. While I heard the race was exciting at the front, with Erin overtaking Georgia on the final lap, I decided that itíd be more fun to pedal solo at 9,000 feet and contemplate on how I really hate berry flavored drinks.

The real kicker was my decision to register for the road TT taking place the next morning. My 10:00 AM start came too early, but apparently not early enough to miss the rainstorm. So, after a good effort to the top of Vail pass, the downhill return trip to town was decidedly unpleasant. Sopping wet and frozen (yes, Iím a huge wimp about getting cold on the bike) I whimpered my way halfway down to a volunteer who gave me a red GoPro Games volunteer t-shirt, size XXL. Feeling much better with a new cotton sail to keep me warm, I made it back to town where I then ran into an old friend, Sylvan Ellefson, from my skiing days who is one of the co-founders of a new whiskey distillery in Vail. Sylvan and the 10th Mountain Whiskey Company tent were just a few steps from the TT start line, how fortuitous... Well, in typical fashion, I managed to acquire yet another grey hoody, but this might be the best one yet, as it sports the 10th Mountain Whiskey Company logo and the CO flag. At this point, I looked like a true hobo sporting a sodden skinsuit, an XXL volunteer t-shirt, a fleece jersey I had stashed at the start, and my brand-spanking-new hoody - the perfect way to pedal the five miles back to the condo, chuck everything in the Danger Ranger, blast the heat, and putz through western CO and southern UT for about 6.5 hours.

Now Iím home for real this time, spending a couple weeks here for some quality training before the Missoula and Colorado Springs Pro XCTís.


p.s. Did I mention that 10th Mountain Whiskey is coming out with a rye batch in August?



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