300 kilometres, 8700 metres of climbing, 4 days, 800 Riders, 1 World Champion, TransGermany 2012

Well I did it.
I completed TransGermany 2012.
It was the most amazing event I have ever taken part in.
800 riders, including World Champion Christophe Sauser, closed roads, entire towns shut for stage starts and stage finishes.
Crowds lining the streets.

It was a dream come true for me.
To spend all day racing my bike. Then resting, having a massage, having a meal, sleeping and getting up to do it all again day after day.
It was heaven.

And at times it was hell.
Climbing over 2700m in a single day, spending over 2 hours 30 mins with my heart rate at over 160 Beats Per Minute, seeing my teammates crack and fall behind me on the climbs, and knowing that this was only the first of 4 days.

It will take me a few weeks to properly get my head around it, and when I do, there will be more of it on this ‘blog. Much more.

So for now, a brief run-through.

Day 1 – 73kms – 2758m of climbing – 4 hours 26 mins (Sauser 3 hours 5 mins)
Today was all about climbing.
That smooth steady rhythmn and the sweet pain in the legs. The pain that you feel as ‘good pain’, the kind of pain Time Triallers talk about.
Hours of cadence drills on the turbo paying off.
Today I really surprised myself, and I enjoyed myself

Today I also had the pleasure of meeting the great Dane, Lasse Sommer.
Boy can that guy descend.
I quickly decided to follow his wheel on the last descent as he dropped like a stone and then we worked together on the run in to the stage finish.
At some point on the last descent we hit 75kmh.

I also handed on my nickname today to a worthy new owner.
Marius ‘Foot Out’ Ingjer.
On the days first descent on what the German’s know as ‘schotte’ (loose gravel) he was ‘foot out’ and often beyond his limits.
To the point that at one stage, I followed him around a corner and watched him slide his bike speedway style until he was pointing back up the hill.

Today was my best ever day on a bike.

There’s no ‘I’ in team, but there is a ‘D’, a ‘W’ and a ‘C’

Until this year I hadn’t been in a team for a long time, a very long time.

Riding for DirtWheels Cycles for the last 6 months has been brilliant.

It is so easy to under-estimate the huge benefits of being part of a team.
In no particular order here are some of my thoughts.

• Turning up at races and seeing a host of new team-mates who soon become new friends.
• Cheering team-mates on and being cheered on when you are racing.
• Sharing car journeys to and from races.
• Lining up on a start line with team-mates.
• Having team-mates and Team Managers handing out water and food at races.
• Shared experiences, shared jokes, shared training rides.
• Lending, borrowing, sharing; advice, bikes, equipment and kit with team-mates
• The mickey-taking, the banter, the new nicknames. Yes, my wish for ‘Foot Out’ as a nickname is starting to stick, along with a handful of new nicknames.
• Being out on a ride and bumping into a team-mate.
• Plus the incentive of not wanting to let the team down.

In a nutshell, being part of this team is like having an extended family.
So, thanks Neil and thanks DirtWheels Cycles.
This team is really starting to become a part of me, to the extent that ‘DirtWheels green’ as I am sure Dulux would call it is starting to find it’s way into more and more of my wardrobe and equipment.