Sport, like many pursuits, involves sacrifice. Not like the multiple human sacrifices made in countries in the past. Chasing sporting dreams or goals involves sacrifices that are a little easier to comprehend, but not always easy to follow. People who pursue lofty goals are familiar with the kinds of sacrifices involved. They are not always unique to sport. Time with your family, your friends and your loved ones may be reduced. The ability to act on impulse may be diminished, as you set structured planning to achieve your goals. You budget. You choose. And you strive to achieve. These are constant sacrifices required for achieving goals.
I’m ok at making some sacrifices. To be honest, I’ve been better in the past than I am now. Some have been lifestyle changes that are pretty easy to maintain. Other sacrifices have ended up reducing the enjoyment of other parts of my life, to the detriment of others too. It is a shame when your own sacrifices impact others, but it is foolhardy to think that you live and act completely in isolation.
Packing up a bag and heading overseas with a bike once or twice a year involves a lot of sacrifice across many different facets of life. There are plenty of times you second guess the efficacy of what you’re doing. Be it on a long training ride in grim weather, or in the closing days before flying out and you realise what a happy situation you’re leaving. Or just when you check your bank balance.
Some days though, it all falls into place and the sacrifices have been justified in one fell swoop. Today’s 5th stage of the 2012 Craft Bike TransAlp traversed some of the Swiss Alps from Scuol to Livigno. We ascended for about 22km to the Pass Costainas (giving the Val Minger a wide berth, of course) and then followed gloriously exposed single and double-track past Alp de Munt way above Dario Country before hitting the road climb to the Offenpass.
Naomi and I had felt pretty rough when waking up in Scuol today. Yet the signs of a brilliant day were apparent. The sky was clear, the air was warm, and the route was classic in its mountainous traverse. Knowing Scuol pretty well, getting s good warm up in was no problem, utilising old road climbs, some schotter descents to get your drift settled in, and passing enough amenities for nervousness.
So by the Offenpass, we found ourselves in 4th place. Unfortunately, this was as much due to others misfortune as our legs. The Black Tusk team had crashed together, and the Mountain Heroes team had crashed a few kilometres in, hitting fresh rock fall on the road climb. Our legs weren’t fresh, but Naomi and I were motivated to get a good result for the Subaru-MarathonMTB.com Team. All sorts of guttural and animal noises had been emanating from Naomi today, and the last 30kms were no different.
Once over the Offenpass the Notebooksbilliger.de Team motored on and past us through the section marked as ‘pfad’ (push/carry) on the course profile. That’s what we needed to do, although these two rode through with smiles on their dials. We made it to the Passo Gallo and enjoyed the descent – who wouldn’t? The sun was out, the trails were great, and we were still having a great ride.
The course took us around Livigno before climbing to the Tea dal Plan and descending to Livigno again. Naomi was sucking down SIS Caffeine Gels like they were going out of fashion – but we spotted some pink baggy shorts approaching. The Ghost Factory mixed team approached. Katrin and Thomas have ridden into this race really well, and pedalled up to us and past us in the last couple of kilometres, while then proceeding to put about a minute into us too.
We arrived at the finish area, elated to be done. We had raced hard. Naomi had railed so many of the tight trails that had everyone else around us dabbing or off and walking. We rode as a team while others were off solo. We pushed, did what we could, and had a great day on super trails. And that makes the sacrifice worth it.
The racing in Mixed is still super tight, there are no big gaps that allow teams to sit up and relax, even outside the top 10. It’s all close.
Topeak-Ergon added to their collection of stage wins, and have brought the deficit to the lead down to 1:16. With the Queen stage tomorrow, they may well end up in yellow for the after party in Riva on Saturday night!
Full results are available on Datasport.ch