I recently returned from my big vacation to Switzerland and Germany, logging several miles (er, kilometers) on Swiss Rail and Deutch Bahn trains. All the while, taking in lots of great food. Emmantaler swiss cheese, bratwurst and beer anyone? I also packed my bike, intent on doing some new product testing during my week in the Swiss Alps, with a visit to TeamTBB’s training camp in tiny Leysin village.
After that, it was a week with a wonderful home stay with the Rauchs in Germany leading up to Triathlete’s coverage of Quelle Challenge Roth.
The visit to the TeamTBB camp was largely to see my wife (TeamTBB team member Donna Phelan), but was a chance to catch up with coach Brett Sutton and see friends like Erika Csomor, Rebekah Keat, as well as meet a bunch of the new squad members including L.C. Langit, Keegan Williams and Scott DeFillipis.
I figured if I was going to be there a week, I might as well bring my bike and get out on some of the team’s easy rides. After all, how sacrilegious is it to be in the Swiss Alps—on the same slopes that the Tour de France passed through last week—and not ride my bike?
I lucked out with my Akona BioSpeed soft-sided bike bag, provided to me by Blue Competition Cycles, which is two-for-two so far. I’ve traveled to two races (one domestic and now one international) and paid no bike charges. With only a bike in it, it weighs no more than 30 pounds, and falls well within the airline height/width/depth parameters. It also carries easily over the shoulder (it has no caster wheels). Other passengers looked at me pitifully as I hustled from planes to train stands, carrying one bike, one Pelican camera case, one massive rolling duffel and one computer-weighted backpack. But hey… that’s traveling in Europe and I kept it on the cheap.
Below are a smattering of experiences, from people I met to tech finds in Leysin and Roth. Enjoy my summer vacation report.