Helen Wyman: No sleep till Bavaria

British cyclo-cross champion Wyman took on former World champion Hanka Kupfernagel in Germany and learnt a thing or two…

Its not very often you get in the car, type your destination into the satnav and realise that the race you are going to is just off the same motorway that you live next too. Its pretty exciting stuff until you realise that ‘just off’ is actually quite a long way on the same road (over 500km’s). Having never seen so many kilometres on TomTom on one road before, I felt it worthy of a photo.


Are we there yet?

So five hours later we arrived to what we thought was a little place in the middle of nowhere until we saw the signs. Bamberg is a really famous German town with incredible history and a million castles (maybe a slight over exaggeration but there’s a lot). It also has an American army base with some 10,000 soldiers and best of all its twinned with …..drum roll please …. Bedford, where the family Wyman reside in the UK. Once again another photo required here.

Twin town

Bedford to Bavaria

I had two races planned for the weekend the first one being a short one-hour drive from our accommodation. The course was slightly reminiscent of an old-school English course with a very long section where they obviously didn’t have permission to go into the field so just rode along the top edge, turned right back to the bottom of the field, sharp right, then another 500m back to the rest of the course. I love racing in big squares.

Being very close to Bavaria there were quite a few people in full local dress but the best thing was the Bavarian band providing the podium race entertainment.  Unfortunately I don’t think they were banking on a British win as they didn’t play the national anthem, at least I don’t think they did.

Cross band

The band played on…and on, and on…

The second day was right next to our apartment and a really different course again but still good fun especially as I had a real battle on my hands. Hanka Kupfernagel, if you are unaware of her status is a very good rider. She was 41 national titles, four world titles, been number one at road and cross for a billion years and has been successful right from the first ever women’s world champs in 2000. There isn’t a single trick used in cyclo-cross that she has not used or knows how to use, most of which she practices on me.

This race I was planning to take my revenge and not give up anything to her as I too have been practicing on Stef. So despite a few attempts during the race we were still together on the final lap with not much difference between us. Having gauged she was very fast on the little descent I knew that’s where she was going to try to get away first. I had other plans, until the fourth barge and block at the tape at which point she got her bars ahead and got the line. By the finish she had a few metres and I had to contend withsecond. However, I have learnt from this: maybe Stef is not as hardcore as Hanka.

This weekend I am racing the next round of the world cup in Koksijde, Belgium, and am really looking forward to it as it has to be one of my favourite races – it’s just so savage. So till then.

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