A couple of days before the World Cup in Nove Mesto I got a message from my girlfriend back in Germany saying that she had caught COVID. I had planned to return to Germany on Monday following the race but that plan soon shifted to finding somewhere else to stay while my girlfriend recovered. Luckily there was a Cat 1 Czech Cup race in Zadov, about halfway between Nove Mesto and my base in Germany so I linked up with fellow Kiwi Ben Oliver for the week.
I had never raced a Czech Cup race before and was excited to see what they had in store. The course was fresh and raw early in week but as it got closer to the race the lines wore in and it became a fun racetrack. There were a couple of steeper punchy climbs on the lower half of the course along with some challenging rock gardens. The upper half of the track was a bit flatter and more rooty.
I was the number one ranked rider in the race so got the first call up spot and had a good start. Early in the race Bart Wawak the Polish rider pushed the pace and we were able to open up a gap on the rest of the field. Halfway around the second lap I took the lead and got away solo. I had great legs and was able to settle into a comfortable rhythm and open up a good gap on the chasers finishing over 1 minute ahead of second place at the finish.
It was great to finally get the chance to race in a Czech Cup and I was very impressed with the organisation and level of the event. There was a great vibe and it was cool to see so many juniors there, including some from New Zealand, having a good time as well. Hopefully, I will be able to return again soon!