For some this was a race weekend. Road nationals taking place this weekend in most countries and European MTB marathon championships was today as well.
Canadian nationals race is starting in an hour or so and of course there are masters aged non-pros racing as well.
Finnish nationals took place in Sulkava on long loop with two hills. There's no reports out yet whether the hills were hard and many enough to decide the race, or was it just the dominant TWD team, with a dozen riders and both Finnish ProTour pros in their team, that decided the race. Jussi took the win in two man sprint or "sprint" against Kjell and the photos look pretty cool with lots of spectators by the road. It was a five man breakaway with four from TWD and Helminen from CCH. Must have sucked for Matti to try to do something in that group. He's strong but not that strong. And Tero seemed to have a good race as well finishing 7. Not bad for a guy with a full time job and a family...and who was complaining about not feeling great just a week or so ago. I'll try to find some photos that I would be allowed to post here.
But the big news of the weekend came from Veneto MTB marathon european champs. Men and women did their race today men's race being quite long 129 km. Finland had two riders racing, Pia Sundstedt in women's and Jukka Vastaranta in men's race. Pia has a solid track record in these races but her crash couple of weeks ago must have slowed down her training a bit. Jukka has been riding strong in Spanish cup MTB races and at least in his pre-race blog post seemed pretty confident about top 10 placing. The race course had only 35 km or so of trail and the rest was gravel and asphalt and no hills over 5 minutes long. In men's race Ralph Näf took the lead with ~30-40 km to go and the chase group was not able to close the gap. Jukka rode a really strong race in tough bunch and crossed the finish line in 4. spot. Maybe his own estimate of being in best form ever is not that far from reality. In women's race Pia took bronze behind Esther Süss and Gunn Rita Dahle top three finishing with one minute intervals. Good job.
Speaking of. Hopefully the rain will stop so I can go for a ride. And I finally ordered new MTB shoes. Hopefully I'll get them before next weekend's Morden Back 40. I still need new tires, Schwalbe Racing Ralph might be good or then budget option Fast Fred in 2.25". Screw big knobs here in MB, it's either hard pack or tire clogging mud so the tread doesn't really matter.