BACH'S BELGIAN BLOG
Tuesday, July 8, 2015.
Bonjour! Ciao my friends!!
CB here, checking in from a cafe overlooking a very remote Belgium air strip. Man… what a trip to Europe it’s been so far! This part of Europe is amazing to say the least, with its amazing and beautiful pine forests and its postcard worthy rolling meadows and pastures.
As you can see by my opening line, I have learned a whopping TWO new words! I landed here on Monday, in a prominently French speaking country, caught a rental car, and met up with Italian Champion and former World Champion, and my teammate for the weekend, Alex Salvini. Accompanying him is his “Junior” class teammate Alessandro Battig. Both Italians, but luckily for me both fluent in English as well. Downside, they don’t speak French, but we are figuring it out. Or should I say they’re figuring things out. I just nod and point and things and order whatever they order.
In typical euro fashion, we have been walking… and walking… and walking. I think I have worn smooth out a fresh pair of Nikes in just 2 days. There are 3 special tests dropped along what’s roughly a 60km race track, which we’ll be using this weekend. All the tests are looking good and I am getting closer to having them memorized. Walking the tests is key here as the course is bannered on BOTH sides, with really only one racing line. Perfection is the name of the game here in the world championship. Perfect lines, perfect traction, and you must execute everything perfectly or you lose. It’s that simple. To win here you must be perfect on that given day. No practice, and no letting off.
A little about the tests ahead:
Cross test: MASSIVE grass track. Unlike anything in US and it is so beautiful. We start atop a mountain, wind our way down via a fire road type lane, through some woods, and then onto this amazing grass track that winds its way up and down and around this hill side meadow. Unlike the USA, these corners flow and are rounded off so nicely. None of the 90-degree point and shoot corners we have. The key to speed here, based off of watching these guys walking their lines, is going to be finding the proper apex of each corner, and not over-drive the corners. Easy for Euro, tough for American.
Extreme: Um, yeah… These guys aren’t sweating the extreme test and I’m over here with knots in my stomach. I’ve never EVER been straight up afraid of ANY obstacle on an offroad course to date. That is now changed. This test starts off with about a 7-foot straight drop off into an Endurocross like area. There are concrete things, another massive drop off, a super steep almost vertical wall climb, and a few wooded down hills that are very slick and loose rock. One I crashed just walking down it. Keys for this one… don’t crash, don’t break the bike. Just figure it out.
Enduro: OK, this is my jam! This is the longest of the 3 tests, and it is all woods, roughly 15-foot wide the entire way. I think they have some sort of land/forest use government issue here because we are only on fire roads or existing old trail. Trail speed is FAST, but they break it up with some chicanes. Nothing technical, but remembering where these zig zags are at and not blowing through the banners is going to be big. Again, don’t over ride it, don’t crash.
We do those 3 times and call it a ‘day’, as in day 1, and again on Sunday, day 2. I am completely unsure of how I will do but I honestly am feeling a bit flat about it. I am learning so much. It is hard to process it all sometimes. As I sit here now, I don’t care how I do. I want to race and learn and have fun. However, knowing myself, that is all going to change on Saturday morning when I roll off the starting platform through the Maxxis arch.
Cool things to note: These guys wear REALLY weird riding gear. It is not style and flash like my Fly Racing USA kit… it is straight sponsor logos, countryman or team colors, and very to-the-point. Good news is, it will be easy to pick me out in my Neon Yellow, or Red White and Blue Fly mesh kit! Yes, that’s 2 shameless sponsor plugs… And yes there will be more!
That’s it for now… Early dinner and bed tonight. More walking tomorrow and I get to test my bike!
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CB9 (CB99 this weekend)