Posted by Editor on 01/29/99
Greetings From Poprad! (Slovakia)
Hello CC and everyone,
I'm not sure if you received my first e-mail. No one else did so I can probably assume that you didn't either. This is Ray Duggan and I'm in an Internet Cafe in Poprad. I made it here with alot of travel problems here and in Canada. The plane into Brataslava (capital city) landed somewhere else because of fog and the usual other problems travelling with two bikes. I kind of put this trip together at the last minute so I didn't get a chance to go to England and get some racing in first. The racing would have helped but I think riding in the snow was a bigger help. The course is completely snow covered. (except for the starting road and a very short muddy section (frozen today - muddy yesterday) The course is shorter than originally planned- They took out a little bit as well as the "stony path" which is the reason I brought 1 pair Spinergys and 1 pair spoked. There is one bad off camber descent that I crashed 2 out of 6 times on Thursday. Today was much better I did about 10 laps and didn't have a problem. I did slide out on another corner on the ice under the snow. It was about -10 today plus wind chill. I had on a t-shirt, arm warmers, thermal jersey, regular jersey, wind vest, windbreaker, winter riding jacket, shorts, knee warmers, and thermal tights and still got cold riding home. It's amazing - halfway around the world and it feels just like home.
The course is 1 big ascent and then winding around back down to the bottom to do it again. Near the top of the ascent is a barrier and then either a run-up or ride. I watched the French race each other (1 ride 1 run) to see which is faster. Riding is a little faster but it takes me twice as much energy to ride so... Frischknecht flies up not missing a thing (apparently he's the pick on this course - when isn't he the favourite?) There is a thin layer of ice on most sections covered by a little snow. On the climbs it's glare ice where the snow has been pushed aside.
Things are pretty neat here. I do miss Westwood's organizational skills and everyone's riding tips, but it's amazing what you can learn by watching. I do have to thank Clark Natwick the US manager because without him agreeing to represent me at the meetings I wouldn't be here.
I would like to say Hi to my new team -Saeco- and thank you Yann for all your help! I don't know what else would be of interest but I'll try to get in again on Sunday after the race. Sorry, I meant to write before I left but was a little busy running around. The US guys just came in and I guess I have pit # 22 (they have #21) and I'm definitely in.
This is longer than I thought but I guess I miss home a little bit. Thanks CC for having this page so we can feel at home wherever we are!
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