Monthly Archives: November 2012

Day Five, Lake Garda

Ok, this is the final post of our Via Claudia trans alp trip. It’s been over two months since we got back, so I’m pretty late in getting this in. But..

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..better late then never. ūüôā

After leaving that shit hole for a hotel in Cles, we made our way towards Lake Garda, It was to be our last day on the road. Susanne was a bit shelled after the big climb the day before and she mentioned not wanting to do any big climbs, so I looked at the map and decided that we needed to get back into the Adige river valley and follow the ‚ÄúVia Claudia‚ÄĚ bike path. It took longer than I expected and we had a few ‚Äúbonus‚ÄĚ miles and vertical because of an error in navigation on my part ūüėČ

Once on the bike path we made good time, stopping only once for a well needed lunch at a café bar in Trento. After the lunch the rain started up, only as a slight drizzle though. The temps were in the mid 70’s so at least it wasn’t cold.

The few miles we had a minor climb and then downhill to the lake. Reaching Torbole was a great feeling for us both and we stayed there for two days before getting shuttled back to our car in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The time went by so fast that before I knew it we were back in Germany. We both had a great time and want to go back for another Alp-X trip next summer.

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Real Ale Wobble

This event rocks! Its our 7th year now so cant be bad. In short, it’s a mountain bike ride/enduro and beer festival with beer at the feed station. The event is held mid November every year, which ties up nicely with my birthday and even better this year being my 40th.
Myself and Mandi arrived on Friday morning, we tend to ride on the Friday just because we can and the area in so beautiful it’d be rude not to, however with Mandi’s elbow still healing she saved her energy until Saturdays event. I headed out with my friends to ride the 25mile, (40km) course, after 3 miles I headed back after my rear tyre blew off the rim 3 times splitting the bead. After it was fixed myself and Mandi hit the pub for mid day until about 01:30am!! That was the training!
Saturday morning, event day, we rode to the start ready and looking forward the great Welsh mountains, mud and a few cheeky beers enroute. I was riding my Jones SS and Mandi on her Singular Swift. We headed out straight into a small climb, Mandi’s chain broke, not having spares with her due to not wearing her pack as to keep the weight off her elbow no one else had a spare chain or link so she headed back to the b&b not happy. I wasn’t aware of the issues behind so I carried on in the mud ploughing away to get to the beer stop. A few mates met me there and told me about Mandi, which wasn’t the news I was hoping for, she was so looking forward to getting back on the MTB. We carried on through the quagmire, not sure if many of you know what Wales is like but it’s really wet and muddy this time of year and not a lot better in the summer but its great. A few friends didn’t recognise me as a 4inch front tyre without a crud catcher flings a fair amount of mud up! The course is pretty tame with ‘special’ sections off of the main route for the more experienced riders, no need to say we rode them. Some of the puddles were over the wheels and the mud in places was 6inches deep. With around a mile to go there was a river crossing so it was rude not to hit it hard and see if I could clean the bike up, it did a good job. We were missing a friend so we hung around here waiting when a friend suggested riding the bike off of the grassy bank dropping onto the river, this was so much fun!
I’ll be back next year for sure.
Go Pro video on board the Jones




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Untold Stories

Mountainbike season is over, we either changed to Cyclocrss racing or are concentrating on what we can do second best – eating and having a tiny little beer once in a while. This is exactly the right moment to take a look back on what has happened over the summer. We have reported about some things here on the weblog, but still there are a a few highlights missing.

Ausilia Vistarini did her first race for BWR at the WEMBO 24 hour solo worldchampionships in Finale Ligure, Italy, in May. As nearly always, she won! Congratulations again, you’re a world chamption now – incredible job! Riding singlespeed solo on a 24 hour race is very impressive. Becoming world champion is even more.

Ausilia becoming World Champion

Michael “Wunnspeed” Cleveland and Phil Fogg attended the legendary self support and nonstop adventure Tour Divide Race from Banff, Canada, to the Mexican Boarder. We were following their race in the social media through heat and storm, over the Rocky Mountains and into the dessert. After doing a great job out in the Wilderness for many days Phil unfortunately had to quit – at a point where most of us have never gone to. Congrats for all those wild miles! Mike could keep riding however and after 33 days he had a very special birthday present for his 50th anniversary: He reached the Mexican Boarder and finished the race. Congratulations to you from the whole team! BTW: Both Mike and Phil rode singlespeed. Of course.

Mike – somewhere

Phil – somewhere else

What our teammate Andr√© Martignoni did during the all-night race “Schlaflos im Sattel” in Germany was pure Punk Rock. Riding over a hundred miles in a completely constant pace pushed him way up the ranking. I can remember how he passed me close to the top of the course’s first climb, close to six in the morning, shortly before the end of the race. While most others had switched to relax mode right before finish, Andr√© was giving all he had to pull out another lap before they were closing the course a couple of minutes later. Screaming some heroic stuff he was flying down the trail and, well, managed another lap, his 14th if¬† I remember correctly. Winner Kalle Kimpel managed 15 I think, which shows how great Andr√© did that night. Martin (Longo) participated in the winner team of the four person category from Schweinfurt and as I remember Jelle’s Dutchie Train also did great and ended up somewhere on the podium.

André right before the start

What Ausilia, Phil, Mike and Andr√© did is simply in another league compared to my own riding. However, there is still one really cool race I haven’t told about: The Pf√§lzer Wald Bike Marathon. Two weeks after Schlaflos im Sattel it took place on probably the best race course I ever had the honour to ride. It was hot (38 degrees), it was dusty, the whole thing was ONE giant singletrack and it was fun. Together with our friends from the singlespeed scene Lomo, Bertram and Hermann we declared it the “Official Palantine Marathon Singlespeed Championship”. On aid station two, where our motivation already had switched to survival mode, we discussed the ranking together and after around 6 hours 15 minutes I finally reached the finish line. The best part of the race was probably the last hour were Lomo and me really kicked some ass :-).

Lomo, Hermann and me re-hydrating

Good night,


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BT Epic – Mark Twain National Forest, USA

Two weeks ago I went down to Steelville, Missouri for the 55-mile point to point off road BT Epic with 4 of my Kansas City bike buddies РEd, Duffster, Bobbie, and Sarah.  The venue was Bass River resort in the Ozarks and the event capped off the 2012 UFD endurance series.  We got to stay at a nice cabin and i took a pic from the porch of the terrain we got to ride.  The Ozarks are a rocky and eroded uplift covered in dense Oak forests, much like the hills flanking the Rhein Valley in central Germany.  It was a cold start (right at freezing) and warmed up to a sunny 55 by mid-race.  There was a dense leaf fall covering the entire course and it was hard to see most of the rocks and the downhills were prone to leaf washout on corners.  There was a 10 mile gravel road section on the 4th leg, with 3 chances to grab something from the bag at checkpoints.

Overall a great event, no major mishaps, my Bergamont handled the terrain well and I had a number of queries about the brand from random fellow riders.  Got to meet up with many of my long-time friends there and a few newer ones, like Garret Steinmetz Рa young newly minted pro rider living up in St. Joseph Missouri just north of KC and Garth Prosser Рa new friend living up north of Missouri in the Midwest.  Duff, being an Enbev distributor rep brought along a cooler chalked full of great microbrews and one off special beers from all over the world for us to gnaw on the whole weekend Рit must have been 500 bux worth of beers in just one cooler, or something like that.  I posted a pic of the cooler where some of the beers were loaded from.

As for the race…Duff and I started together and saw each-other in the middle, then finished together in the 50’s at¬†5:51 with Ed and Bob at around 6:50.¬† The winner, Steve Tilford, did it in 4:20ish and has a nice post about the race and course conditions on his blog, and the last place finisher was 12+ hours.¬† There were 270ish racers¬†I believe.¬† This year’s time was 30 mins slower than my time in 2009, probably¬†from the conditions because the winning course time also set by Steve is 4:09, so I guess I am in the same shape im¬†was in during the 2009 season before coming to germany, thanks to BWRE for keeping races on my schedule and to motivate my riding in Germany.¬† I only felt mediocre unfortunately, fatigued,¬†and probably should have not ridden Sun, mon, tues, wed thur leading up to the event on Saturday morn, but it was a really nice week in Kansas the week before and had some great rides in the flint hills at my current homebase of Manhattan, Kansas.¬† It was one of those where my legs felt like bricks at the start and end and I had about 50 minutes worth of big ring the whole day.¬† Took about 5 days to recover from the event, with 6500 feet of climbing recorded by my Garmin.¬† Its tough to do such a long event¬†so late in the season, it will be nice to have a bit of a break to recover since¬†I have lots of little injuries from riding with the young and¬†fast Kansas State University team while ive been here in the USA, a story I¬†will save for the next post.



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New Sponsor: Osprey Packs

We are more than happy to announce that Osprey Packs will support us for the upcoming season – great to have you on board!

Everybody out there: Check out Osprey’s products, high quality bags and packs for cycling, travelling and all kind of outdoor activities via!


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Just wanted to say hello and at last introduce myself. I was so excited when¬† Michael kindly invited me to¬† join¬† the BWR¬†team a couple of weeks ago and I must send a huge apology for¬†or my delay with my introduction. I am a bit rubbish with the whole computer thing. I just don’t go on them very often¬†¬†but¬†I will endeavour to be better¬†and make the effort.

¬†My name is mandi¬†and¬†I am married to Sheldon, a fellow BWR.¬†Sheldon and I¬†live¬†in the¬†UK¬†¬†with our mad English springer¬†spaniel¬†dog, in an area¬†known as the Cotswolds, which is¬†about an¬†1 hour away from Birmingham.¬†It is a great place to ride¬†our bikes. I only started riding a bike when I met Sheldon. I didn’t see him very much and so I decided I would join him on a bike ride one day and never looked back. It is now me that pesters him to go out!¬†¬†

I am lucky to have one or two bikes. One cross bike, all mountain bike,a single speed and a frame that can be a single speed or geared. I love riding single speed and competed in the European solo 24hr race at Newcastleton in Scotland, in may this year. I was the first lady singlspeeder and came 5th in the overall ladies category, with a huge support from Sheldon that got me through it.  I tend to compete in the same events as Sheldon and so normally where ever he goes I will not be far behind him. Even on a climb!!! (only teasing Sheldon)

Unfortunately this summer in Italy I fell off my bike and dislocated my right elbow. I am now riding my turbo for most of the winter until I have completed a physio course. So I am not sure which races I will be entering in the early part of next year, but I will keep you posted.

There was a question regarding why we wanted to be part of a team. I see it as being part of a family of like-minded people who are there also to help, support and encourage each other, in what ever way we can. I really look forward to meeting the rest of the team at some point.  

Take care all of you when out on your bike!




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Day 4

Nothing like waking up in the morning with the whole day ahead of to ride your bike to some unknown destination. Today was totally new country for me so I was excited about what the day would bring. I was also curious as to how Susanne would handle the big climb of the day; 1150 meters and approx. 30 km.

First off, in the next town, the one we had to go through to get to the pass, was a religious procession going on. After asking a policeman we push our bikes past.

The frist hour or so of the climb went well, with Susanne riding her own pace and I think enjoying it. We stopped and had a snack and relaxed for a few minutes and then continued on. Then Susanne started to get frustrated at the climb, and I had to coax her into riding farther and not stopping. We reached a restaurant about 5 km’s from the top and had a second break. The last few km’s were a breeze and soon we were going downhill, after more than three hours of grinding our way up to the top of the Gampen Pass. The rest of the afternoon was mostly downhill to the town of Cles. A pretty Italian town in the midst of mountains. We weren’t so lucky in finding a decent room for the night but what the heck, it’s just one night. We had a great dinner though at a nice family

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60 km and 1570 meters was what we rode that day.


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Knog Muddy Hell Nightime CX race @ London’s Herne Hill Velodrome

Last Christmas may wife was very good to me and bought me a Singular Kite CX frame and fork, so it needed building up and riding hard. Over Christmas and into early January I built it and rode it with road wheels for a week or so to ‘test’ it. I then slapped a pair of cx tyres on it and decided to give it a go off road! Well, it’s a great bike for fire roads and gentle xc but when I took it down my favourite downhill run and hit some small doubles cleaning the down and landing to flat it dawned on me that I may have the wrong idea about what a cx bike can do. I scared myself to death on it! Time went by and road tyres back on for the Wednesday night chain gangs and before I know it summer has been and gone. I receive an invite to race Knog Muddy Hell, I’ve been asked down to this event for a few years but always declined as I’ve never had the correct tool for the job. This year however, I decided what the Hell there won’t be anything as scary as my local DH run!
Arriving in London to drizzle and 3¬įC I was having 2nd thoughts, a quick catch up with Casper the owner of Rollapaluza and race organiser I checked out the course. #%}{|‚ā¨¬•>; it had Woops, steep drops, big man made bridge and a tabletop jump! Ah well if the rain carries on the landing will be soft! Like a fool I entered the seniors race under instructions from a mate who races cx a fair bit, on reflection Novice seemed a little more suited to my cx skill set! I watched a few races before darkness fell, seniors were due off at 20:20 a good 2 hours after it was dark, it was now 1¬įC and wearing my BWR Europe uniform I emerged from the car freezing cold and thinking why am I doing this? Practise lap under way the course was a quagmire but so much fun, I even was starting to look forward to the race. Lining up at the start everyone who had bothered to do a warm up lap was plastered in mud, everyone was shivering though. And we’re off, crikey some of those boys are quick! I soon got into my rhythm and was keeping up with a group behind the leading pack, I hit the woops and cleared them all whilst the field in front and behind crashed or jumped off their bikes and took to their feet. After the woops came the wall ride, then the bridge, the bridge was so steep a dismount was needed. I remounted at the top and looked up to see a load of people with cameras waiting by the table top at the bottom to catch any poor sod who thought they could get air on a cx bike crashing. All sorts of thoughts were in my head, I’ve no idea what took over but I just launched myself off, down the bridge and into the air with a nice little cross up, landed sweet to a cheer. I was on cloud 9! Not sure what happened over the rest of the race because every lap I just wanted to get air! And every lap I managed it albeit the amount was getting smaller as I was getting fatigued. I was lapped by the winner twice during the 50minute ordeal race but none the less finished with a smile. There were a lot of riders that didn’t make the finish due to rear mechs wrapped around their wheels due to the excessive mud.
Not sure I’ll be a regular cx rider but I’ll be back to Muddy Hell next year for sure.




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