The day started in the TransAlp Camp which is an interesting experience in itself, especially for a female. The camp is comprised of a large open hall divided by bags and bed mats stuffed to capacity with, predominantly male, Euro mountain bike riders. This in itself is not a bad thing, but when they start shuffling around in their ‘tight whities’ or ‘tighty stripies’ at 0500 the eye candy factor dissipates very quickly. So camp aside, the day started a little chilly and drizzly, as was to be expected, but the forecast was for clearing showers which can mean anything in the Alps! Just when you think you have dressed appropriately you see so many locals wearing extreme weather attire that your insecurities precipitate spontaneous leg warmer shopping on the start line, Mike style.
Todays stage was written up as 77.9km, 3274hm and max altitude 1976 from Imst to Ischgl. Following our 7th place in the mixed category on stage 1, we were allocated to chute A1, an honour in itself as team Subaru-MarathonMTB.com are on the call up list. One goal for the week is to maintain top ten in the mixed so we can maintain our A1 start chute, despite the fact they have my name all switch about “Hansen Naomi”, possibly my mistake on the registration form.
The stage was written up as a convoluting and fast road burn through town for some 8km then into the first climb, with some 1200hm to be gained over 10km. The first 8km were great but the first climb put me in the box early, I was extremely grateful for Mike who tried relentlessly to push, tow, push, tow me into some semblance of climbing prowess. One interesting fact about mixed team racing is that a lot depends on the strength of the male rider to push/pull/kick/throw the female rider uphill/downhill/on flats. I think we started the climb somewhere in third, in close contact with the lead mixed teams but as the climb unfolded we were passed by three mixed teams and thrown back to 6th, and that is where we stayed.
The course was somewhat like a zigzag, up and down over three climbs then a mind numbing upward push for 17km until the finish in Ischgl. As mentioned before, I was in the box from early so the course is pretty much a blur and again I have Mike to thank for getting the Subaru-MarathonMTB.com team across the line on day 2. I can however comment on Ischgl, the fabulous town in which we now find ourselves, showered, fed and trying to debrief on yet another amazing stage of TransAlp 2012. We are holding 6th in the mixed category by the skin of our teeth with several more days of racing. At the top end of the mixed category there are few changes with team Black Tusk racing seconds ahead of Team Gisler and the Italian Press Riva Del Garda team in 3rd.
In the other categories, Alban Lakata and Robert Mennen from the Topeak Ergon Team enjoyed a win with a two minute gap from Markus Kaufmann and Thomas Stoll. Team Bulls were in 3rd. Sally Bigham’s partnership with Milena Landtwing continues to pay dividends, with close to a 40 minute gap back to the second placed Bizhub-fcf Team
Full results can be viewed on Datasport.ch