Mike & Mary diary: Starting the hard way

I can hardly believe three weeks have passed since we arrived here in Europe. We have been blessed...

I can hardly believe three weeks have passed since we arrived here in Europe. We have been blessed with a beautiful blooming spring, with temperatures closer to mid-summer, which is definitely unusual for this time of year but has been great for training and living out of our little RV!

We have already driven a good bit of kilometers here in Europe, starting, as usual, in Munich with a visit to our friend and RV rental specialist Michael Braun. We packed our substantial lot of equipment aboard one of his sweet modern RVs and headed directly to our first race in Oldenzaal, Netherlands.

Though we only had a few days to make the 700 kilometre drive, build up and race prep the bikes, handle the logistics to get ready for race day, our previous familiarity with Europe and the ease of the RV way of traveling helped us arrive fresh and ready on race day.

We arrived to contest the first race of the Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) cup series and were glad to have half a day to dial in the complex, loose, big ring only course.

Short version, I ended up winning and mike finished ninth in the hot, dusty, but still well attended conditions. Of course the majority of the Netherlands are super flat but all the races we have contested here are full of fun single track and ingenious courses that push the limits of all the riders.

After a few days of recovery with some good training rides near a national park north of Arnhem, we headed south to Houffalize, Belgium for the first World Cup round of the season. Mike and I were glad for the return of this classic MTB race. We have made our way through this area many times, not only to race, but also whenever we have the chance to get in some good training rides between races.

The quaint, stone-built town of Houffalize is nestled in a deep valley, between the jagged hills of the Ardennes, and has the perfect atmosphere for a bike race. No doubt one of the best places to hold a round of the World Cup series.

To read the complete diary entry, click here.

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