The Craft & Friends / Team Bianchi won the second Trans Germany after its Thomas Dietsch and Martin Kraler triumphed on the final 79km stage from Oberwiesenthal to Seiffen in 2:48:48 hours. In total, over seven stages, the French and Austrian pair race 23:22:34 hours for the 658 kilometres and 15,259 metres of elevation gain.
After their fourth stage victory, Kraler was more than pleased. "In the beginning of the Trans Germany we had some bad luck and weren't in shape for 100 percent. We weren't able to compete during the weeks prior to this race. But as the days went by we were getting better and better. That's why we controlled the competition over the last stages. I'm happy that we won."
For a short time during the final stage Anna-Sofie and Kristine Norgaard questioned the outcome of the their women's race when they faced some scary moments. Kristine's tube and tyre were damaged. "We had to change the tube, so we put in our last one! We also fixed the tyre with an ordinary tape. I was hoping that this would work out," said Kristine after the final stage in which the two Danish sisters finished third (3:14:09).
The tyre repair did in fact work, so even a final stage win by Team Rocky Mountain with Alison Sydor and Pia Sundstedt (3:11:02) didn't affect the final standing. In the end, Team Cube WLS secured their second consecutive title with a lead of 15 minutes over Team Rocky Mountain. "It was a stressful day and for a few minutes I was really scared of losing our lead but it finally worked out. We are super happy that we were able to win again after 2007," said Kristine Norgaard.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Trans Germany.
Experience pays off at Big Bear
The third event of the 24 hour National Points Series (NPS), the 24 Hours of Big Bear, started just days after heavy rains the previous week threatened to make the technical, wooded course slick. Racers and support crews also battled intense heat over the weekend which altered the normal expectations of cooler conditions in the Appalachian highlands of West Virginia.
1996 Olympian-turned endurance specialist Tinker Juarez (Mona Vie / Cannondale) had his own doubts about his ability to win the men's solo division. The southern California native and resident is a bit out of his element on technical, muddy East Coast courses, but in the end his experience mitigated any unfamiliarity with regional course conditions.
Juarez used a familiar race strategy from his days on the international cross country scene: a fast start to open up a sustainable gap on his competitors. With a time of one hour, 16 minutes, he was the third on his first lap and racing with some of the team riders. For the next five laps, Juarez stayed in the top ten places in the overall standings, before stepping off the gas slightly.
Meanwhile, Ernesto Marenchin (Asylum Cycles) of Stow, Ohio, followed the reverse plan. Holding back slightly in the opening three laps, by nightfall Marenchin was turning nearly equal lap times with Juarez, leading to significantly faster laps number 10, 11 and 12 on Sunday morning. Juarez kept his cool in the sweltering heat, however, and the late charge by Marenchin was not enough to erase the gap sustained by the consistent, measured effort from Juarez, who took the win with 15 laps ridden and a 52 minute advantage over Marenchin.
"Marenchin deserves to be commended. He kept the pressure on me the whole race. I knew that I shouldn't panic, though, and just focused on my own performance and keeping it steady," said Juarez.
In the women's solo race, a racer registered mysteriously as "Ms. Cookie" displayed her own experience and consistency to win the class. Further research revealed "Ms. Cookie" to be the pseudonym of Carol Clemens (Dirt Rag), a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, resident who finished second in 2007. The early challenge was mounted by Liz Baumgardt-Kays (A&B Machine) of Rockford, Illinois, who turned two fast early laps before fading to third overall behind the quickening pace of Clemens and Heidi Schilling (Ellsworth) of Whitehall, Ohio.
"I knew from previous years that you can't start out too fast, and have to really gauge your efforts to survive the whole race," said Clemens, displaying the wisdom of a seasoned 24 racer.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the 24 hours of Big Bear.