Saturday, 11 June 2011

TransGermany Day 0 - the storm before the calm

Today it rained. And it rained. And then it rained some more. In fact, if it keeps the cloudburst of the moment going until morning, the organisers would be wise to issue us with waterwings for our safety (and possibly comfort).
Today started well enough, sunny fenland morning in Little Eversden hinted that maybe, just maybe, the gloomy weather reports were wrong. Hamish and I had been obsessively checking the long range forecast for Munich in the preceding week, and it had done nothing for our spirits. The impression that we had been overly negative was confirmed when we landed at Munich airport to 22oC, sunny skies and light winds. This is what continental racing is all about!

Our train ride to Sonthofen, the start town for the race was punctuated only by a rather bizarre Jekyll & Hyde experience with Bavarian ticket inspectors, one of whom could hardly stand to talk to me, and the other of whom was nice enough to carry our bike bags down the train for us when we got on at the wrong door! As for competitors, we have met an American woman from Utah who now lives in Hamburg, and a rather serious German dude (it later transpired he wasn’t even racing, but supporting his sister!).
Registration was, as ever, a little chaotic. It was held in the space beneath an ice rink, and contrary to expectations was oppressively hot, and was only topped in oddness by the first night’s pasta party, which was held around the edge of a swimming pool. Unable to contain our excitement at Uli Stanciu pouring forth his pearls of wisdom about the following day’s course, Hamish and I headed outside to eat and keep an eye on our bikes; it’s not unknown for them to go missing the night before these events start. The man in charge of the Parc Ferme provided for the storage of bikes seemed delighted to see us, and we soon discovered why! We were obliged to leave our beloved cycles outside in the pouring rain overnight, so far only eight out of 1100 people have decided this is a sacrifice worth making. My lovely anthem is currently sitting (illicity) next to me in the hotel room as I write this.

Tomorrow should give us a relaxed start to ease ourselves into the race – kick-off is at 10am. I have to do my best not to get swamped in the flat first few km; hopefully the rain will dampen some European spirits! So far, the event is missing the characters and the sunshine that the TransAlp had, but it’s a long long way to Achensee...

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