Friday, July 16, 2010

Day 0

The TransAlps 8 day MTB race starts tomorrow.  Today was filled with lots of excitement.  Just over 1,000 racers in the small town of Fussen, Germany putting bikes together, registering, picking up transportation bags, and heading out for spins on the bikes to make sure they are functioning properly and that their legs are loose after long travels by planes, trains, and automobiles.
  The weather here in Germany has been incredbily hot and muggy for this time of the year.  Temperatures are soaring up to the low 90's during the day and the humidity is fairly close behind.  No matter how much water you drink the fluids need to be constantly replenished.
  This evening the temperatures have dipped and everyone is hoping for cooler temperatures tomorrow when the race starts at 9:30am.  Due to the fact that my teammate is a UCI card member we will be starting towards the front of the pack tomorrow.  With 1,000 riders and a fairly straightforward course tomorrow positioning for the remaining stages is very important.  Stage 1 consists of approximately 50 miles and 5,000 feet of climbing.  50% of the stage will be on gravel road.  With fresh legs and nervous attitudes it will be important to avoid pile ups.  The plan is to stay to the sides of the road with accessible bailout points in case a sudden pile up occurs in front of us.  Hopefully 10K in to the race things will start to thin out a bit.
  I am off to bed and am both excited and nervous.  Like every other endurance event there is always something special about the event you are about to do.  Take nothing for granted and use the guidelines you have established during your training to keep everything in check.

Lucy here.  This morning, we rendesvoused with our Irish friends Tracey and David.  We met these two while Drew was racing La Ruta de los Conquistadors in Costa Rica in 2007.  David and Drew seemed to be about on par in riding speed and ability, and Tracey, I think, found it much more of an adventure to ride along with me in my rental car rather than ride the race's tour bus, so all worked out great that time.  We decided to try it over again - Alps style. David and Drew will be official race partners while Tracey and I plan to have a grand time following along and getting into all kinds of mischief. 

So while Drew and David prepared for the race, which included drinking plenty of non-alcoholic beverages and eating lots and lots of food, Tracey and I visited this amazing castle.

This is Neuschwanstein Castle built by King Ludwig from 1869 to 1884.  HOLY COW is all I have time to say about it.
 From below.

The entrance towers.
Unfortunately, we couldn't take any pictures inside, but it was truly incredible.  Every surface was either carved stone, carved wood or painted murals.  King Ludwig only got to spend 176 days living here before he died mysteriously.

As if one grand castle wasn't enough, this was one of his other two castles.  They are so close, you can see each of them from the other.

We've had a very busy day and it is time to get some rest before the adventure begins tomorrow.

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