Freeriding into the off season

The big races are over. At World Cup finals (in Windham, New York), it was great racing from the first moment until the very end, but I am still very bummed that I crashed out in last downhill. My mistake!

One week later (at Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec), my world championship early flat was just bad luck! I was in good company though, since many top riders punctured, but my puncture was only realised after I had passed the tech zone. So I ended up being a jogger for more then a third of a lap, which meant game over for the top positions.

Sam Hill, Burry Stander and I went for a road tour afterwards, which turned out to be an awesome time. First of all, we should have visited a Specialized concept store in Montreal. Somebody arranged it for Monday after the race, and later somebody again figured out it was a public holiday (Labor Day) on that day.

So we made our own public holiday in the city until our flight to Switzerland on Tuesday evening. Montreal is an incredible, cycling-friendly city! I loved the Bixi e-bike system. At every corner, there are stations. Swap credit card ($5 for 24 hours) take a bike and bring it back to any station anywhere.

Before "The Specialized Days" in Madrid, we had two days at my home. We did not want to sit down and give jetlag the ability to get hold of us, so we went for a big freeride day at my home. I hope you like the pictures!

Sam and Burry enjoyed it, too, although not so much for Sam's legs at some moments since we had to "kill" a lot of uphill metres, too. But hey, his name is "Hill" and that can stand for down and up-Hill!

The next day, we found ourself traveling again, jumping on the train at 8:30 am towards the airport. For most of the time, the airport Starbucks do their job helping with morale and staying awake. Normally, I order an extra hot mocha, adding an extra double shot espresso in it. I don't like coffee that's too milky.

At the Specialized Days, we did a mountain bike ride on Saturday and a road ride on Sunday. Everybody was welcome to join. For both rides, we were about 350 riders.

Wonder why (Alberto) Condador did not do the mountain bike ride on Saturday too? Well, it seemed like the road ride was already too much, since after halfway, he took a ride back home in the car.

On the other hand, it was great to see Matt Hunter and Sam Hill doing their first road rides ever. Sam, with flat pedals and baggy pants and Matt with a way-too-high saddle for the first 60km.

Deadly Nedly (alias Ned Overend) and I didn't have anything better to do than start racing with the front group on the last climb. It was definitely a lung cleaner for me. By the way, the Spanish are incredibly good fans! Taking our pictures and autograph cards meant a lot, and that was great to see. Many thanks to the great hosts.

One thing, though, that I could never get used to, were those late dinners. Going to the table at 9:30 pm and finishing off with the last course just before midnight is a little too late for my Swiss style.

I am now staying at home for the next weeks. Hopefully, we will now have a rocking autumn. My Enduro bike is ready to go for planned freeride days in Italy and the east of Switzerland.

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