After 47 kilometers, we came to the first aid station and then I saw with almost a tear in my eye the first real evidence of an off-road course. A 3,000 foot climb up a ski resort and over the pass lay in front of me. Mango Manny (my bike) was ready for the challenge and we headed up the double track fire road. The climb was steady and the humidity was very high. In the distance thunder rumbled and soon enough we had a few little rain showers dropping on us. To keep my mind off of the climb as we inched further up to the pass I looked down at the crux of my hand between my thumb and forefinger. I will admit as a smile crossed my face that I was impressed by the collection of boogers trapped in the terry cloth of my glove. This present day collection far surpassed what took me months to collect as a 6th grader in my homeroom journal between the last page and the cover. Back to reality with the smile disappearing from my face we came around the corner to discover a section of “hike-a-bike”. The elevation change was so great that we need to dismount and hike over the pass. Cows with big bells around their necks were grazing nearby and I am convinced that they must be deaf from all of the noise. Over the top we made quick work of the descent and the last 10 K into town were on fast gravel roads.
We arrived in to Imst at 2:20pm and cleaned the bikes and at some post race food. The traffic was so bad on the roads that we met our most incredible support crew halfway back to the hotel. We were walking up the hill and they were coming down the hill from the hotel. It was a great day made possible by a lot of hard work from Lucy and Tracey. They have been incredible!
Day 1 as experienced by the “Support” Crew
The first stage of the 2010 TransALPS is history. Drew and David lined up on the start line in Fussen, Germany, where we all proudly wore our Supersonic Tortoises jerseys.
At 9 AM, they were off.
Our excitement subsided as Tracey and I loaded up the gear and pointed the truck in the direction of Austria. We intended to be at the finish in Imst to greet our guys, but alas, we spent the entire time they were riding driving the car! The traffic on the highway from Fussen to Imst was sometimes stop and go and never more than 40 mph. At one point, people were getting out and walking their dogs and sitting on the edge of the road reading a book.
We still don’t know if the traffic was due to the race or what. But with a search for petrol (gas to you back there in the States), it took us almost 4 hours to drive what should have taken 1+.
The scenery on the drive was spectacular, however, and through the intermittent rain, we saw more than one castle.
Finally, we arrived in Imst and collected our guys, who had been finished for over an hour. As if 4.5 hours in the chamois isn’t enough! We got them some recovery drink and to the hotel so they could recouperate. Since it was only 3:15 PM, I decided I could squeeze in a ride, so off I went on hiking/biking trails. Thunderstorms were threatening but I managed almost 1.5 hours and was able to snap some pics.