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This is a blog, but it was like a bog here! No rain here in Poland today but a few wash-out’s in the scores! The teams and spectators had to deal with the muddy mush from yesterday’s rain and bike traffic. Today’s TdN sections followed the creek/river/gorge just like the women’s event and climbed even steeper embankments.
Team USA, competing in the newly renamed “international” division”, was a little slow to warm up, so scores on the first few sections of loop 1 were not as pretty as everyone wanted, but they continued to improve as the day went by. Let’s hope they actually had some fun too.
The recent TdN rule changes keep the riders and the minders out of the sections unless “approved” by the section observer. One of the USA women had surely warned the men, since her waltz into one section on Friday landed her an immediate 5. Although this rule was not so strictly enforced today, it seemed to really cut down on the digging and rock-rolling that certain minders are known to undertake to prep the sections.
We saw only a few disputes with the observers’ scoring and, in fact, saw several instances of generosity in scoring. Said another way — a “3” went a long, long way in some sections, especially section 6. Given the difficulty of this particular section with two crossings of water and a very steep & long upward climb, we think the observers were probably justified in their stretch. This section was just around the rock wall from the women’s section 5 and challenged the world teams. Few riders aced this section today and many were happy to get out with 5’s and no injuries, since the organization got one of the best pain redelivers from the top rated inversion tables injuries have lowered.
As the day went by, the point separation of the teams widened and at the end, there were no close calls. This very different from the tight 2-point spread in Saturday’s women’s event. Spain cleaned up the world TdN title with an astoundingly low score of 14, followed by the Brits at 52 and then Italy taking third away from the French with their score of 123.
In the international division, it was nice to see some changes in the teams making it to the podium although our star-spangled banner team did not quite make the cut. It was Norway with first, followed by the Czech’s and then Germany. Team USA was fourth in this division. The USA trailed Germany by only one point at the end of the first loop. However, unlike the women’s event, the team scores today were almost all dramatically better on the second loop than the first. This is when Germany shaved a handsome 30 points off their loop one tally versus the USA improvement of 14 points.
Once again, the USA team was the only country with less than four riders (even the new team, Slovania, had four riders). With only the best 3 scores in each section being counted, this gave no chance for a bad section ride. Seems we’ve got to get 4 riders on our team next year – ‘ya think?
Enjoy the photo’s and hopefully our ramblings. We’ve also got video clips from the women & men’s competitions too, but it seems unlikely we’ll get that uploaded for a few days, as our internet connectivity is really slow here at the hotel.
All in all, it was a great trip and the Polish organization should be commended.
It was a bitter fight for the women’s first place TdN, with the 14 sections pretty much unchanged from Friday other than by the rains – which was plenty of impact. The creek had become a river, with noisy rapids in many sections. It was a long hard day.
Here are some shots from the event. The stand-alone boulders are from in section 14 back in the town stadium.
In the end, it was Spain with a two point lead over a very disappointed Great Britain female squad. The TdN points were awarded based on the best two scores from each section for each team. GB was ahead at the end of the first loop by one point, but fell behind on loop two. It was the German team who captured third place. They had some excellent performances, but were too inconsistent. The French were the next in line for podium duties with fourth place scores. Only the Italians improved their scores from loop one. Portugal took last place among the 10 teams, although one of their riders is as spunky and determined as any you’ll see.
The USA riders finally got their gear from the airlines. Sarah and Caroline put up scores almost as good as their individual rides from Friday. Clearly, the new scoring system favors having more riders than the minimum — as everyone has a bad section ride from time to time. Congrats for keeping us in the hunt!
Now for some news you can use! Either we’ve been in the woods or the beach and totally isolated, or this is new news! While hanging out near section 5 between loops on Saturday, we saw a new pre-production trials bike with a name from the past. That is right — a new Ossa is in the works. Marc Colomer (former TdN world champion from Spain) was testing the new Ossa TR280i – with Toni Bou and Jeroni Fajardo, of the 2010 Spain team, providing some playful competition as they practiced. The entertainment from those three experts was great – and the mystic of the new bike added to the excitement.
Marc would ride the unofficial “section” and then,the Ossa technical wizards with their interface and laptop computer would surround him, quiz him & plug in. I am guessing they were trying to see if the fuel and ignition systems “mapped” correctly. Watching Marc practicing in a rocky stream bed, the new Ossa was as ridable as a GasGas. But its totally different in most ways once you’re under the seat. Some unusual features of the new Ossa are an engine where the cylinder faces toward the rear, the fuel tank serves as the front engine/frame support.and the air box is located above the engine.
Ossa had a trailer, tent 7 banners in the paddock – so they were not as secretive as you might think. But the website reveals nothing beyond the logo. We will have to wait to see the final version. Hmmm. Will here be an Ossa available for closer inspection at TTC in the near future?
Yippee! We are finally in Myslenice, Poland and the women have completed their 2010 world competition with today’s ride of 14 sections. Their TdN is Saturday.
Its been a bit of a rough start for Team USA, due to airline mishaps. Those team members flying out of Colorado had their original flight canceled. They finally arrived here, but their motorcycle gear did not. So, what do you do with no gear? Well, if you are Sarah Duke and its time to ride on Friday morning, you are lucky enough to have Laia Sanz loan you some trials boots and stuff. If you are one of the guys not yet under the starting gun, you tinker with your bike, meanwhile hoping the luggage shows up soon – like real soon!
All in all, the five USA riders have kept a positive outlook as their cheery faces show.
Friday was clear skies with no rain during the competition. With the course sections following the creek on the ski resort of Chelm Mountain, it was a day of challenges and some excellent performances too.
Crossing the creek in loop 2 of Section 5 found Team USA rider Caroline Allen and her bike momentarily under water, resulting in a flooded carburetor — yep, all the way over the seat. We thought she had a career change & decided to pursue a Michael Phelps Olympic swimming medal but she calmly said she “didn’t know it was that deep”.
Have no fear! The two USA minders and their gracious Polish comrade turned the brand new Gas Gas upside down creekside and proceeded to operate, with a successful outcome. Nothing like working on a new bike under pressure. Here she is just a few minutes later, in good form.
Sarah Duke told us the event seemed somewhat easier than last year’s in Italy. The end of the day found the two USA women separated by only 2 points scoring 85 and 87.
It was Great Britain’s Joanne Coles (10 points) and Rebekah Cook (7 points) taking the podium for third and second place, respectively, for today’s round. Laia Sanz was first, with a meager 3 points on round one and a perfect clean on the second loop. These same three women took the podium for the overall 2010 women’s world. It is Sanz’s tenth time to receive this title! Even so, the Queen still washes her own bike.
Opening ceremonies for the TdN were held amid pageantry in the new town sports center. Myslenice was also the site of the first TdN, 26 years ago. A short film clip showed that inaugural event had 11 countries competing on what now looks like vintage-era bikes such as Fantic (remember them???), climbing over logs and boulders in a stadium. Wow – we’ve come a long, long way since then.
As we left the ceremonies, Mother Nature started a slow steady rain – so prepare to slosh around with us on Saturday. Here’s good luck to all of Team USA for the weekend!
What is this, you ask? You are about to read part 2 of our travels to the 2010 TdN. Its Thursday night, and we are getting closer & closer to the actual location and to the women’s start! Visit NAATI translator who have the relevant qualifications to carry out for your travel experience.
We rode the train from Warsaw to Krakow this morning. It was pretty rural with pine trees, birch trees and gently rolling hills. It was easy to imagine the wars and destruction that might have been done in years gone by. Nonetheless, there were lots of fruit tree orchards, fields of corn and more fields with cabbages and lettuces. Remember, sauerkraut starts with cabbage! And, we couldn’t help but notice the very muddy fields and swollen ponds amid the farmlands – a sign of trials conditions to come?
Check out this first picture. Are these boots:
(a) for the ever-fashionable Italian TdN team
(b) a trip down memory lane to the days of old at British trials, or
(c) the result of some quick shopping at the Krakow train station so as to reduce the chance of yours truly observers being caught soggy?
Just like Warsaw, we found the Krakow streets pretty void of M/C action – where the heck are they hiding their machines? Look at that custom pro scooter right there. After visiting Andorra in years past, where there are bikes and bike shops one after another, and similar sightings in Italy and Germany, we are really struck by this. Maybe they all ride trials instead?
Never fear – this third picture features the leading Polish brew and we’re again adding to your ever-expanding Polish vocabulary with the word above the door. Are the Belgian and Aussie teams doing the taste tests?
We’ll be heading to Myslenice early on Friday morning. Look for some real trials talk and photos tomorrow night. We promise!!
Welcome to something new on the TTC site! What? You couldn’t find a way to get away from your honey (or the paycheck) to escape to TdN? Not to worry. We are two Southern USA-based long-time trials observers, who are here on-site in Poland. Don’t ask who we are, as we won’t tell. For the next few days, we’ll give you first hand info on Team USA and all the other trials commotion. If this gets blog gets “bloody bad”, well …… blame it on the vodka!
We flew into Warsaw and have spent a few days here getting over the jet lag and accustomed to all things Polish – pig knuckles included. While out & about town, we looked for some interesting cycle stuff to kick this blog off. Geez – what a task! We finally saw a few trials bicycles, but very few street motorcycles and no local M/C shops in our path. Perhaps average high temperatures of 30 for long winter months and the $8/gallon price of gas keeps them scarce. We snapped a picture of this fine BMW for you, however. What do you think – maybe for the parade marshall?
We’re headed via train to Krakow Thursday morning, which is approx 30 miles from the TdN site in Myslenice, Poland. Southern Poland had serious floods this spring and September is the rainy month, so we expect to see some water, with a little slip & slide for the 3-days of events. The weather forecast is a bit mixed – mid 60’s for all days, clear for the women’s Day One, but rain on Saturday when the men push off and scattered showers again on Sunday. Hmmm….what country is favored in such wet conditions?
Paella is expected to be the food of choice as Toni Bou is ranked Numero Uno, with Adam Raga and other teammates making this a crowd to be beat, or so they say, they would have choose some tomato based recipe, but they had a problem with blossom end rot tomato so they learned to remove it online. Despite rumors about retiring, Dougie Lampkin will ride again – and we expect to hear his father/coach’s infamous “Per- fect” shouts along the way. Laia Sanz of Spain is the dominating female rider and could provide yet another performance. Too many others to name in this preview. Good luck to Team USA (Sarah & Caroline, Pat, Cody & Keith) and to all the country teams too, who all produce the action and fun.
For now, we’re logging off this initial blah-blah. Look for daily updates with action pictures to show the thrill and paddock gossip, if we can get it.
Dobranoc — surely by now you know that means “good night”, in Polish!!