on tuesday evening i rolled up to the jhb airport with an expired schengen visa,needless to say i didnt make it to europe on wednesday.instead i was camped outside the swiss embassy on a freezing morning by 8am.i had a stack of papers and letters as i needed a visa...fast! luckily for me they do express visas but even this procedure takes 5 days.i only had one day!i managed to wangle it somehow and flew out on thursday night.the trip actualy turned out fine,i got to do some easy road rides with a few intervals and hang out with cherise alittle longer.i got to zurich very early on friday and was met by the ever friendly benno willeit(manager) even though he had to get up at 4am and drive 3 hours to come and get me.

it rained most of the way to champery and when i wanted to take my new 2011 epic out for a burn it was bucketing down.i rode on the rollers for a few minutes until it subsided,fit a storm mud tire on the front and headed onto the most technical course we race all year.i worked my way around slowly but managed to ride most of the course.the specialized storm tire is incredible when the weather forces its use.the course didnt dry much on saturday and practice along with a few hundred other riders was pretty crazy.in the evening the organizers layed down some gravel as the course had become too unrideable.

perfect blue skies greeted us for our race on sunday.the course was still mucky but not nearly as bad as it had been.we were onto intermediate tires(fasttrack lk) and very excited to race.i had my best start of the year from the second row and along with florian vogel lead the first start lap.on the second lap we were joined by vogel's scott team mate nino schurter and julien absalon (orbea).after the first full lap the group satyed the same with riders just gapping off when making mistakes in the difficult conditions.on the second lap nino dropped off with just before the start finish.on the third lap i started lacking some consentration and had my first crash on the last downhill section.i got going pretty quick but the gap was afew seconds to the front.i chased back at the star of lap 4 but made some more mistakes shortly after and ended up crashing about 4 times!somehow i got it together over the last two laps and held on to finish in 6th place 1min 23 seconds down on winner florian vogel.it was a satisfying performance for me as my last two world cups havent gone my way at all.

this week we are racing in val de sol so yesterday was a long road trip.as if the drive wasnt long enough we extended our trip by getting rear-ended in suzi's ne multivan.after a lengthy visit to the carbinerri and a cheese and wine picnic outside,we made it to val di sol in one piece.

till next week...happy trails