After one of the best and longest days riding in Avoriaz I’d had in a long time it was off to the national champs and a FIS in the Czech Republic. Czech is somewhere I have never been before but always wanted to go to so I was pretty excited for the trip. Not all the team were going on this trip as it wasn’t officially on the calendar so Myles, Marlies, Tom Banks, coach Jimbo and myself loaded up the battle wagon and hit the road for a mammoth 12 hour drive through to Prague. This was an almighty long trip so to the tactical choice of passing out in the back of the wagon with audio book to put me to sleep.
Standard on the road food even for athletes….
We arrived in Prague pretty late at night and were pretty knackered but wanted to go and have a well earned beer as it was Jimbo’s birthday and when beer is less than a euro a pint it would be rude not to! We asked the people in the hostel for a few recommendations and headed out. After a few cold ones and ‘a lesson in Czech culture’ it was time to get an early one and go have a gander round the city for a few hours the next day.
The team off to see the sights of Prague…
Break in Prague, a tough choice…..
Most badass statue ever!! You can’t see inside the gates proper but there is dude in there about to cut off his hands!
I didn’t really know what to expect as I had heard so much about the city but it proved to be a pretty sick place. We only had a couple hours but feel we got to see most of the old town and touristy bits. Will have to go back at a later date though and see a bit more.
Team photo in front of the castle. Their guards were actually pretty shit compared to ours. They were actually moving heaps and shivering!
Jimbo and his tired beard buddy on the Prague subway.
After a couple hours back on the road and witnessing at least 5 people being pulled over by the police, we arrived in Dolni Morava, which is where the races would be held over the weekend. None of us really knew what to expect but what a treat we were in for. Two T-Bars accessed the side of the resort we would be using and conditions resembled Scotland so it was almost like being on home turf!
It was then off to find out accommodation which was in the backend of nowhere and I think we must have been the first people to be staying at since the end of summer. First things first, get the jug on and make a brew. However for the first 5 min of running the tap the water resembled dehydrated piss. The rest of the teams were staying here too though which meant FIS standard meals and if a ping-pong table wasn’t enough we also had our own private drag lift out the back!
Trying to understand shopping in Czech.
First day up the hill was just a training day. Here is the video of the course and ‘my riding’ face. Myles was also practicing his drafting. Enjoy.
Day 1 of racing was the Czech Nationals Champs and course was slushy as however, instead of degrading it actually got better and much faster! We had 2 qualifying runs, fasted one counting towards finals and top 32 qualifying. All of us managed to get through to the finals, which was an epic effort for us all! Myles and myself both got knocked out in the first round of heats but I managed to get 3rd in the heat, which meant I finished 23rd. Best result of the season. Stoked! Tom Bankes ended up getting 4th keeping the points rolling in, Marlies Neuner got 13th and Myles 31st.
Had every type of weather possible! but eventually the sun came out….
Marlies sending it off the kicker!
Day 2 of racing was just a normal FIS race and the course was almost the same except for one small gate change which meant you would have more speed into the hip and finish jump. The sun had also come out! I didn’t do as good as first day and nowhere near as good as I wanted however still made it to the finals and came third in my heat again. Myles Mcneany put in an epic qualifying run to get him 5th fastest time and gate priority for the first few rounds. Marlies put in another solid run also and Banks improved on the previous days qualifying result getting 2nd fastest time. End results for day 2. Tom Banks 3rd, Myles 7th, Marlies 5th and myself 24th. For full list of results see the FIS site.
Tom bringing it home!
Once again we travelled to a tiny resort that we would never normally go to and once again I was so impressed with the amount of effort that the mountain put into running the event and the mountain itself. Whilst the qualifying runs were going on they had people constantly digging and shaping berms so they kept their shape and it made a massive difference. The whole mountain was also littered with mountain biking stuff, loads of north shore trails and massive dirt jumps. I would love to come back and see this place in the summer as I can imagine it would be buzzing! All the locals were so proud of their hill and wanted to know what we thought about it. The few resorts we have back in the UK could learn a thing or two from this tiny resort.
Off tomorrow to Krakow for some more cultural enlightenment and then the Polish Nationals and another FIS.
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