Scott11 manager Claudio Caluori gives us his unique views ahead of the iXS Downhill Cup opener.
The quick and not-so-quick preparation for the IXS European Downhill Cup at Monte Tamaro!
It was quite a spectacular season for Scott11 in 2011, with Floriane Pugin's win at the World Cup in Leogang, and with her crash at our main goal, the world championships in Champéry.
After three years, we wanted to develop further and rise the excitement even higher. That meant new athletes, new set-up, new bikes, new partners.
What, in theory, sounds nice and easy, turned out to be a real challenge that kept us busy through the whole winter and is still keeping us busy.
Getting Brendan Fairclough on the team kept us awake at night only for a couple of weeks, but that has changed things a lot for the team.
Racing means improvising and doing the best with what you have.
While Scott11 was able to decide itself what it's going to do when and where as a whole, there are now many different requests to be at different places at the same time with different riders. Film shootings, photo stories, product development, training camps and racing has to be coordinated to fit into athletes and partners' schedule.
This itself wouldn't be a real challenge if there weren't all the delays that made things really complicated.
The plan was to test and develop a new downhill bike for the 2012 season. Delays in the production of the prototypes made us postpone several training and testcamps. We finally had our first testcamp just one week before the World Cup opener in South Africa. Even then, we started the camp on last year's bikes and received the prototypes only for the second half of the week.
Obviously, we weren't able to find all the perfect settings for South Africa, but racing means improvising, doing your best with what you have, and not finding excuses...
Further testing and development had to be done after the first World Cup, but injuries, more delays, weather and even injuries of athletes from other teams slowed things down again. For these reasons, Brendan Fairclough is now testing Fox suspension in the USA instead of racing at the IXS European Cup at Monte Tamaro.
Also, Floriane Pugin is not showing up this weekend because of a shoulder injury from the first World Cup, and Romain Paulhan is going to try to ride with a brace around his knee, because he had torn his ACL - also at the first World Cup.
The most exhausting story of the season preparation has been the new set up though. Having started to look around for a new bus or truck around two years ago, we finally found a suitable one that we could possibly afford in December. Only a few internal changes, a new paint job and a tent had to be organized and it would be a dream come true. Reality has tought us different though, as we are still waiting for the bus to be ready. Therefore, we had to find a new solution for this first race in Europe, which we found, - after very long and tough negotiations - in a rock-band tour bus from the same company that is selling us ours. It's quite a change, sitting on leather seats while writing this blog!
Let's get this party started and rock the track as well as the tour bus!
The quicker and easier story was the track preparation at Monte Tamaro with Velosolutions. As the organizer told us to use the incredibly sunny weather we had in Switzerland in November for the track maintenance, there was almost nothing to do before the race this week. It was a very good idea, because when we started our work this week, there was a snowstorm at Monte Tamaro and the start was covered in white. The only work we had to do this week was taping the course and installing the safety pads. But, let's see what the UCI commissaires say when they walk down the course - you never know what ideas they have!
So, let's get this party started, rock this super long and technical race track as well as this tour bus, with some of the world's fastest riders and let's not worry about the weather!