Welcome to another continent I want to introduce you in a world of richness and poorness, electric fences, household ladies, hospitality, good Downhill riders, (zentralveriegelung), huge spiders, poisoning snakes, security men, permanent sunshine, the fabulous mangos, a pudding called clusted…
I am here since 3 days now. I flew in to Johannesburg or Jburg, with British Airways which I can advise. One bike is for free and if you take two it still cost you less than with Egypt air or South African airline. The time difference to Austria is just one hour so I don’t have problems with the jet lag at all. But I couldn’t sleep very well during the flight. I was arriving about 7 o clock and Alexanders’ Dad picked me up. I stayed in a wonderful house with a big garden and a swimming pool. I had my own room and bed . The family had 4 dogs and 2 cats and they were all so funny. The biggest dog, a Schäferhund called Oliver, jumped always in the swimming pool when he got excited about something and the other small one a Jack Russell Terrier tried to catch rats and spent the whole morning to get under a cupboard or climbed up trees to run on the roof of the house to reach the mouse/rat whatever. I didn’t see much of Johannesburg but what I realized from the first second everybody tries to protect his house with high electric fences. I guess it is because of the high criminal rate. The family told me not to got for a run in the neighborhoods because it is too dangerous so it comes that the parents are driving their children everywhere and they stay all the time in their secured houses. I think when you grow up with that it’s normal but I would never want to live like that. But apart from that Johannesburg is a very clean city or the neighborhood I saw was very clean compare to other countries I have been so far.
I went for a walk with Alexs father in big park and there you could ride a xc lap and walked with your dog without any fear.
Alex studies in another town and he came home on Thursday night and we went on a road trip the next day heading to Pietermaritzburg. It was a nice journey and I could see a little bit of the backcountry and black culture. The poor black people are living in small round houses made of mud in a weight spread areas. The landscape from Johannesburg to Pietermaritzburg is most of the time flat with massive straight mountain blocks, because of the tectonic earth movement.
We arrived in the evening and I met Patrick Morewood on the same evening to get parts for my bike from him. It was good to see the founder of the company I am riding for because before I was just in contact with Richard Carter.
And no I am staying with Dinkelman family in Pietermaritzburg. Just about 5minutes away from the World cup Downhill track. It is awesome and I am so happy about that. The family is so friendly as well. They are 4 kids. Two of them are riding downhill. The younger one (Simon 16) wants to become a professional. I haven’t seen him riding yet because he cracked his clavicular a bite again but he will be back on the bike soon I guess. The older one called Dave and Alex, Calvin, Mark and many others went for a ride on the DH course. I must be honest I didn’t feel very good. The new bike, new fork, new shock and new brake discs and the fact that I haven’t riding downhill since end of October turned the first run to big a challenge for me. The first part of the track is more technical the middle part is quite pedally and the last part is flowy. I like it. It is again much different to the tracks I have ridden before and I am sure I will find my line and rhythm soon. I also met a lots of riders and I think I can train a lot here with the locals they are all quite motivated.
So no I will get ready because we are going so again to ride on the track. BYE BYE LENE
Any way we went on this road trip to compete the national champs. The track was fun but a lot to pedal. I won the race. Second was Anka Martin and third I don’t know I can’t remember her name. There were about 7 girls I think at least more than we have in our national champs. I didn’t get the national jersey of course I am not south African. But I get some price money. Not much about 50 Euros. Johann P. won the race second was the Morewood rider Jonty Neethling and third I can’t remember the name either. Especially the last bite of the track was fun, few nice burms and 2 nice doubles. I enjoyed the weekend but I wasn’t satisfied with my riding performance. I am still not used to my new bike and I am struggling around with the suspension setup.
Today as well I was training on the downhill track with Fabien (morewood engineer) and Simon DInkelman (the son of the family I am staying with) and I just couldn’t find my flow. At the pedal section I lost so much time and I couldn’t keep up with the others. I don’t know why because I am feeling fit but I just couldn’t go smooth enough above all the small roots or what ever I don’t know I have to figure out quick…. There are a lot of jumps on the track as well and I haven’t hit the all. I want to but I today was just not my day I couldn’t motivate to try them at all. I think it’s just when I can’t see the landing it’s stress me because at the finish is big triple and I don’t have any problems to clear that. I don’t know I will see how it goes tomorrow, because there is small club race on the track and I will see how it will go.
Apart from all the training I am helping Misses Dinkelman a lot with here wedding preparation work. She is a florist and more and she is organizing lots of weddings. Sometimes three at on weekend. I don’t know how she does it but she is working so hard and sometimes the whole night through just that the bride is happy. The brides are so fuzzy and they want all special things. I won’t ever want to be like them and drive my wedding planer crazy. I don’t even know if I want to marry that spectacularly. Weddings are big deal here in South Africa and lots lots young people get married here and obviously they don’t care about the money or their parents. When they want golden sprayed chairs they want them and if Kerry can’t get the things here she is shipping them in. But anyway I like to be creative and do things with my hands so I am quite happy about this work and also that I can help her. I am staying here for free and that’s at least what I can do for them to say thank you.
The time is flying here. And the world cup is coming closer and closer.
But up to now I had a great time with some ups and downs. I had some big problems with my equipment but now I have sorted everything out and I just have to push myself back on the right way. Easy to say but I have people here who are supporting me a lot. One the one side the family with whom I am staying. The Dinkelmans are just incredible. I am so welcome here. And on the other side the Morewood people, Patrick Morewood, Richard Carter, Fabien and the others are helping me a lot here and look after me as well.
The last day I was in Durban at the Aquarium with Steff and German woman who grew up here. It was so good fun and the variety of fish was impressive. I saw all the NEMO crew 😉 including the sharks. I was also for a swim in the sea and struggled with not loosing my bikini all the time forced by the wave power. But all good I walked out covered J Yes between riding on the track and training I went out for dancing. It was Fabiens birthday and so a bunch of people went out. So I got dressed up and was ready to shake ….It was so good fun. I love to dance nearly as same as riding my bike and so I danced non stop. Nearly crashed few times because the floor got cleaned all the time so it was wet all the time. We didn’t come home late but on the other day my legs were heavy…very heavy. I was dirt jumping the next day at Tims place. There was a small line and a big line. I was keen to try the big one but hmm better not because I have not so much clue about dirt jumping. The small line was good fun.
Yesterday I was training on the 4x and I think it’s a good course but I think far too small jumps for the men. They will over jump everything. The downhill track is getting better and better the people are working hard to make it perfect for the race. This weekend are the nationals in four cross and downhill and I think there will be a lot of good people riding.
Bye bye LENE
Yesterday I was training on the 4x track and crashed hard. Got scratches on my shoulder and elbow although i was wearing protection and I crashed on my head as well. I didn’t sleep very well and woke up early. The downhill training was going on and many top riders have already arrived to train on the track. I decided not to ride DH today becaus I had head ache and felt so sleepy what I actually did at the end. It was raining a little bit and the track is so slippery, especially on the top section. The dirt turns just out like riding on ice and you slide without any control about your bike. So did Fabien Barel, one of the top top riders in the World. He dislocated his knee cap. I heard he cleared a road gab landed, slipped away and hit with his knee a stumb. I wish him a good recovery. In the afternoon I rode 4x and qualificated 3rd. We are 4 girl but big names like Fion Griffiths, Jojo Peterson and Emmelin Ragot. We were all in 3 seconds. 29,29,30,31 So appart from my position and time I was satisfied about my performance after crashing so hard the day before. I don’t know who came first by the men I went straight home… Tomorrow the weather forcast is better sun sun sun so it should be much better. Bye bye LENE
I don’t know why but since I am here in South africa my life is just crazy. Nearly non stop everything goes wrong. I keep on crashing hard, have non stop bruises or scratches even when I would sleep with my bodyamour I would manage to hurt myself and now I am food poisened. Everything hurts in my body and I can hardly sleep because I don’t know on which part of my body i can lie without having pain. Yesterday I went sailing with Alex to get my mind free and to get some distance to the bike thing. And guess what happened I managed to hurt myself again. They sail get out of control and the robe burned my neck deeply. Then in the evening I cooked pasta with mince and I think the mince wasn’t cold properly. So I spent the whole night with vomitting, diarrhea, fever and catching mosquitoes.
Apart from that I competet this weekend. Got 3rd in the four cross and 6th in the downhill. I had pain as well because I crashed the day before so I rode very badly. I wasn’t happy at all……
I am feeling better now. Yesterday I was still struggeling with my digestion. I kept on vomitting and didn’t feel good at all. But at least my bikes works fine now. Maxime from Boss Suspension changed a few things on my suspension. I got a springs size which fits to my weight now. So I am happy about that.
On the downhill track are jumpes with are scarring me a lot and I hope I jump them tomorrow. I crashed in my qualification run today, I washed out and landed on my sore side. So my time was scrap and I ended up on the 15th position.
In four cross I was so nervous. I didn’t do jumps I wanted so I was very worry about my performance in my qualification run. I think I did okay and I am on the 7th place. I will see what tomorrow brings. bye LENE
I am back in Austria now and I am very happy about this. For the ones who had followed my blog I had a lot of bad luck and at the end I was really mind blocked and I just wanted to have it passed. In the 4 cross in my first run i had a very good start but then I made a big mistake and didn’t close the first corner and went inside so the other girls behind me could pass me inside easiliy and I was last. It was so frustrating I can’t tell. and in the semifinal I had problems with my gear just before the start and the KHS mechanics helped me. By the way thank you. I was stressed out and had a bad start and was last again. I ended up on the 8th position.
On Sunday on the downhill I didn’t do much better. I didn’t crash but made also lots of mistakes. I pedalled as much as I could but I didn’t do all jumps and lost a lots of seconds. I ended up on the 14th position. 14th sounds not to bad but in the fact that just 18 girls where competing it is pretty bad.
The south african home local hero won Greg minnarr won the race and Tracy Moseley raced down like from another planet.
Bye bye LENE
Diana and I arrived saved in lovely Belgium. It’s a nice town and so far everything looks fine. Diana made something wrong with the accomondation booking so when we arrived in the hotel no room was booked other her name. So yes we had no room and the only offer was a small room with an extern bathroom with breakfast for 65 euros…WOW super expensive. So we drove on and searched for another room. to be honest I was angry about the situation and the fact the training was going to start but we had to search for a new accomondation. BUT you will not believe it a man watched our searching process and invited us to his house. Private and we were very pleased. Now we are staying there for a very very good price and the man is nice the house is nice and we can use the kitchen, lock the bikes well and its in the middle of the centre. The first training went okay my pedal axle good loose. Fortunatley I realized it before I wanted to jump the biggest jumps but I wasn’t very relaxed. I don’t know what’s my problem I am just not myself at the moment. Tomorrow I will see how it goes and want to do good in the qualification.
bye bye LENE
This weekend I raced in Andorra. It was the 3 rd Downhill and 4x UCI round. I raced there last year so knew the DH track but not the 4x track. When I arrived on Tuesday it looked like it gonna be a rainy weekend, super cloudy, cold, wet and It looked like it will snow. But the weather turned and at the end I got sunburned lips and cheeks. My bikes worked well and I love my new Morewood hardtail it’s the best. So from that side it was all good. On Friday in the qualification I nearly crashed on a triple but I still ended up on the 15 position. We were 24 girls so I was happy about that. On Saturday I had the Downhill qualification which didn’t turn out good for me. I crashed hard and lost a lot of seconds to get back on my bike and then to get in my click pedals. So yes I was out of the top 20 girls and didn’t start on Sunday. (no injured just bruised)
In four cross I had big crash with another girl (Katarina Tothova). I was so lucky that I didn’t get injured because we both flew over a roller which you should be soaked because of the following big logs. I landed nose diving in the logs and bushes with my head and left shoulder first. But I still managed to get in the next round. I spoke with Katarina and she said she is „fine“ no broken shoulder.
In my second heat I didn’t have a brilliant start and the heat was strong too. Anneke Beerten, Jana Horokova and Johanna Petersson. I came close to Johanna but I couldn’t pass her and I got last. My final position was 14th. I am satisfied about that. This 4x track was a very good track to pass and good to watch for the spectators. Lots of crashes and smart passing scenes. Fionn Griffiths and Jost Wichman won and I was so happy for them. Congratulations! What I am not happy about is of course my crashing in downhill but I get my next chance in Fort Williams.
After Andorra I went home for 2 weeks. Caroline Buchanan, an australian 4cross/BMX girl is staying with me at the moment and we had a good time. The weather was brilliant in Austria and so we did heaps of riding, swimming in a lake, sight seeing, shooping….
Pump track Vösendorf
BMX track Wr. Neustadt
Cycling Track in Vienna, with these rental bikes.
Sight Seeing with Markus and Caroline (Schönbrunn/Vienna)
I also used the time to find a worker for my appartment or I should say my dad found him. I don’t know if i have already mention it but I will move out from home. I don’t know when because i have so much work to do in the appartment and I am hardly at home in Austria. But I am really excited about moving out and have my own space.
We also celebrated my father’s birthday. Caroline and I baked a chocolate cake with 10 eggs, sugar and butter and no flower. So for those who are baking sometimes it was a very fatty cake but very good and it’s my dads‘ favourite.
Apart from this I had the 4x national champs and a austrian cup race going on. The race super good organised thanks to Sabine by the way and all the organisers. I got 3rd in both races. It was a good track but we had sh… weather. it Rained and hailed.
Markus and Caroline. (A typical good looking austrian man)
Photo by Tom Hauke: Training
Austrian Cup race: Caroline/Anita/Me/Angelika (left to the right)
National champs 4x 09
So that’s was pretty much it what happened the last two weeks. I think I found a good mix between, relax and still train a lot.
Stay posing. Bye LENE
Fort williams is over for me. I raced today the downhill qualification. I didn’t make it to the final -again it is so frustrating. 24th position and 20 seconds behind the 20th place. This time I didn’t crash it was more that I didn’t find my rythm from the top to the bottom. I was everywhere on the brakes couldn’t make good turns, missed out some lines, maybe want to be safe. I was so focused on not crashing that I forgot about let it go. I don’t know what i should say. i have to get my mind free to race good again.
In 4 cross I did better. My training was good. I jumped all the jumps I wanted to and enjoyed it. Qualifying run was still not good messed up one line really bad and my gears get stucked for 3 pedal stroks and I finished 15th. I was glad to make it in the 16th heats. Today race day, I raced against Anneke Beerten, Anita Molcik and Rachel Saydeux. I had the outside line and didn’t pass anyone. so out in the first round.
Tomorrow I will watch the race and will sleep looooooong in.
I know my blog sounds quite sad but yes that’s excactly how I feel at the moment.
Caroline did much better she got second. So at least one of us had a good fort william weekend.
This weekend I raced downhill in Slovenia. The 5th World cup was running in Maribor and I decided to race just downhill this time to keep my power for the downhill. First I regret that I didn’t race 4x but finally I think it was a good desicion and I felt all right with it.
Friday: It was very nice. The sun was shining and the track was perfect. I enjoyed it a lot and i felt all good.
Saturday: It rained the whole night and so the track was soaked in the morning. The qualification got quanceled because of the storm and lightening. The gondola didn’t run so the riders weren’t able to get to the start. The track was actually pretty good and all right to ride. But so the qualifying was on Sunday morning.
It was super stressy. Wake up at 5:30. Get in the line at 6:30 to reduce the waiting time at the gondola. And then I did one run- washed my bike and already went up to my quali run at 9:38. This time I had a mechanic with me. Martin was his name and he is working for the bikeshop CICLOPIA. They helping me always out. So I was very pleased for his help. I have also to thank Lukas another mechanic who helped me too.
Anyway in my quali run I crashed at the third corner hard and I lost so many seconds…. To sum it up I didn’t make it to the final again (25 th place). I was really upset about me and about my crash….
I take a break now of racing for 2 weeks and see how i feel after this timeout. I will race for sure the national champs at Leogang. But until there NO Racing for me. I have to find my smile ….
see you LENE
This weekend I competed in lovely Austria. The IXS cup and our national champs were on the schedule.It rained everyday time and the weather God got the track no chance to dry out. Leogang is a very wet area in Austria but the last weeks or month it rained non stop everyday, I got told. The IXS Cup is a European cup just one level under a World cup so the starter field was huge and a lot of nationalities started too.I had so much fun on my bike even when the track looked alike a motocross track.
There were so deep wholes- I think my full body would have fit in some of them. When you rode the track it felt like on a rodeo horse not that I have ever done that but I think it would come close….Unfortunately many riders got bad bad injured. The helicopter flew 3 times and I saw many riders with white finger/shoulder/foot/ knee etc. straps. hinking around at the race pits. It was super muddy but because of the roots and the rolling part I decided to run the Michelin DH 16. I tried the mud ones but I didn’t feel good on the roots.
I really enjoyed it to ride my bike and the mud didn’t bother me too much. But in my race run I crashed two times hard. But luckily I just ended up with new bruises and not in the hospital…I finished on the 8th place in Elite Women and our national champs weren’t counted because we were just 3 austrian riders and the national champs are official with 6 starters… Anita Molcik got first and 2nd Petra Bernhard