Gearing up for mountain bike Worlds

Wonderful days in Livigno

Several wonderful weeks of training in Livigno are now coming to a close, and the cross country world championships in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa are coming up. My victory in the French Cup final on Sunday gave me a nice confirmation that I'm on track.

I raced in the French Cup final, here in Meribel, and it was in many ways a general rehearsal for the world championships, as the courses had many similarities. A lot of climbing, some hand-built sections, a few rock gardens, cambered turns, and drop-offs. Next year's World Cup final will be on this very track.

After almost six weeks in Livigno, with only two days away because of the World Cup race in Andorra at the end of July, we finished off our lengthy stay at high altitude with the race here in France. We drove our car from Livigno to Meribel, and it was a very long way, but Bjørnar did surprisingly well. I think his mother was just as worn out as he was after eight hours of driving on Friday.

I got to do a whole lap on the race course on Friday evening, and I was happy to have done that as it was pretty technically demanding with many lines to choose from. I had received very clear instructions from my trainer, Kenneth, as to what to focus on, and I worked extra hard on these things during the race, receiving a "pass" for my efforts upon completion. As expected, the race ended with a duel between me and Julie Bresset.

Impressive venue

We were extremely impressed by the sheer proportions of the venue and happenings here in Meribel. This was the first time I had ever taken part in the French Cup, and the finals are apparently always a three-fold event, with both downhill, trials and cross country. The atmosphere here next year, when the World Cup finals take place, is going to be extreme!

We've been living in a nice hotel right next to the track and the stadium. We're being very well taken care of by the organization and by the French supporters. The nature is fantastic, there's a cozy little shopping street here in Meribel, and there are lovely hotels, but it's very expensive here. As a matter of fact, I've never paid so much for a small glass of cognac as here. I bought it in the bar here at the hotel this evening, and there wasn't much in the glass either, and it cost me 18 Euros!

Victory at Davos

We can look back on some extremely good weeks of training in Livigno together with our family. We've had great weather up here at high altitude, and that's important when one has to do a lot of training. The weekend after the World Cup in Andorra, where I finished fourth, I took part in the BMC Cup in Davos.

It was a high speed experience, and the track certainly encouraged high speed, with a real fight for the good positions from beginning to end. I managed to get a small gap back to the next rider right before the final lap, and I was able to maintain it until the finish. It's great to win a race.

Now it's time to go to bed here in the hotel room. Bjørnar is already asleep.

I just want to remind everyone to make a note of the weekend of September 13-15, and make the trip to Hafjell and the World Cup finals, where the world's elite in both cross country and downhill will meet for the last great competition of the season.

Cyclist's greetings from Gunn-Rita
Multivan Merida Biking Team
[Translation: Crispen T.P. de Lange ]

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