|Thanks to Team Mechanic Peter Felber for the nice words on my stem!|
The day after the World Champs we drove straight to Villabassa, Italy to prepare for Dolomiti Superbike which is a special race for me because it was here in 2008 that I made my international debut. Although this was my fourth time competing here, it was the first time that I raced the course in the clockwise direction - each year the route alternates between clockwise and anti-clockwise. This was also the first year that the ladies course was shortened in accordance with the UCI regulations for women's marathon races. So rather than racing 113km the UCI ladies raced over 80km with 2300 metres of vertical climbing. After a pretty full on race calendar over the last couple of months, the shorter distance was fine by me!
After the Worlds I was pretty tired physically and mentally, so I had a relaxed week before Dolomiti and this allowed me to chill out and ride with Dave to various cafes and lakes :) We get to ride together less and less now, so it's nice when I can reduce the throttle and ride at his pace ;)
Our apartment is set high above the town in a small cluster of alpine houses and we have neighbouring cows (complete with bells) and a Church (complete with louder bells than the cows). It's all very chilled and very nice :)
The UCI ladies started at 7.15am on Saturday morning...puh, another early start! After an easy week I was ready for a fast race, so at the bottom of the first climb I set the pace. Elena Gaddonni stayed on my wheel for a while, but after a short time I found myself alone with only the two lead motorbikes for company. The race isn't technical, but for what it lacks in technicality it more than makes up for in stunning mountain vistas. Taking my second consecutive win in the race which marked my entry to international racing was a really nice feeling.
We've had another 4 or 5 days to relax and enjoy the Dolomites, but now it's time to pack up again and get ready to race: the Transalp 8 day stage race starts on Saturday in Mittenwald, Germany. Originally, I was supposed to be teaming up with Milena Landwing, but she's hurt her hand and she's unable to race. It was short notice to find another partner and for a time I wasn't sure if I'd be able to race; however I'm very happy to say that Norwegian rider Borghild Lovset has stepped in and we'll be riding 676km across the Alps and climbing a total of 20,242 vertical high metres together. Fingers crossed for good luck and fun, and a great after party at the finish in Riva del Garda on Saturday 20th July!