Heading into a hanging Austrian side valley at 1700 Meters was the perfect location to rest up from four days of climbing at the Alpen Tour. It was also ideal to start acclimatizing to the medium altitude (1500M-2200M) which the World Marathon Championships will take place at. There’s nothing like the power of nature to heal the body and after three days of relaxing it was back on the bike for four more days of solid climbing practice in the surrounding alpine.

IMG_4121The riding in the Otzal Alps was great, long fire roads lead up to alpine huts where a guy could stop for a warm drink before searching out some single track for the return. The weather was iffy with rain and temperatures hovering between +2 to +10ºc but when you grow up in the Rocky Mountains surrounding Jasper this feels fine and the crisp cool air sure brings one alive!

IMG_4166Heading into Italy the weather turned at the border and with five days till race day we are busy checking out the 87 km course with its 4700m of climbing. It’s a real monster and one of the hardest sub 90km race courses I’ve ever experienced. The 80% fireroad course snakes its way around the alpine under the towering Dolomite peaks with some nice single track descending mixed in.

IMG_4206-1024x1024Last year I raced here in the UCI Marathon World Series with over 4000 other cyclists and finished 15th in what was a pure climbers course. This year will be even harder against the worlds best but with four days left to pre-ride the course, the right bike in my Kona King Kahuna, and huge motivation to finish this Euro campaign on a high note I have a feeling it will be a good one!

A preview of the race can be found at Marathonmtb.com and you can follow Cory on his blog here and on Instagram here