“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.” ~John F. Kennedy

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Luke Update #2

Here is the latest update from Luke. Enjoy!

We raced the "EKZ" Swiss cup race Monday. The course was a four lap race with punchy climbs and descents.  It was much more extreme than any course I have raced on in the States. It included a two foot log drop, a 4 foot gap jump (which was optional; it could be bypassed but you would lose about 10 seconds and get passed by about 5 guys), a super steep switchback that was almost impossible on a 29er, and, best of all, a super sketchy downhill steeper than any I have ever ridden. On top of that, the downhill was slick with mud and had a huge rut down the middle. I was so gassed in the race that I endoed here on the third lap in front of tons of spectators! Luckily, I landed on some nice orange pads laying on stacked hay. The course, however, did not have the rocks that we have at Buck Creek.

At the start line we got interviewed as team USA for German TV, which was totally awesome! We had to start at the very back of over 40 racers though, which was not ideal. One thing that is awesome about the Europe racing scene is the spectators are not just parents lining the course, but tons of fans yelling in foreign languages. I can happily say that there were at LEAST the number of spectators there as there are at a Wylie Bulldogs football game.

We moved up quickly once the race started and formed a train of me, Lucas (US national champ), and Keegan who was 2nd at Nats. Zach and Joe were not too far behind us.  The Europe kids were aggressive and had no problem elbowing you for a better position going into the singletrack. I ended up finishing the race in 12th, 56 seconds behind Lucas.  It was also pretty cool seeing juniors racing for the actual Specialized team, and beating them! The race was age category 15-17, so some of the top guys were older. I missed the podium by less than two minutes!  Our next race, the World Cup, is Saturday and should be huge. Racing in Europe sure does make you glad you are a bike racer, because it is the sport here! We Americans were some of the only guys that did not have someone holding an umbrella over us at the start line for shade, whereas in America only the pros do that.  The food here is duh-lish! I will probably not be ready to leave come next Monday!

-Luke Allen

Thanks for the update, Luke. It sounds like you're having a great time. Good luck at the World Cup!

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