I promised myself to be consistent in publishing those episodes, but December and January definitely flew by. Before the new season kicks off, we still have some time ahead, and I think I can make it to get back on track. Okay, no more words… let’s go straight back to the action at Nove Mesto.

In the last episode, we saw CFR participating in the first races of the season in Spain. Then, we had quite a long gap… This time allowed the riders to return home, while Manuel Fumic was busy settling into the new House of CFR.

The Service Course is located in a secret place in Germany, where all the pieces are brought back once the races are over. It’s also the hub where mechanics work before and in between events, equipped with everything necessary to ensure the bikes are kept shiny and fast.

Time pack the last things and to jump into the car direction Nove Mesto. Kenta is in for the first shift.

If you want to see Kenta happy, just make sure to stop at McDonald’s.

Day is almost over but we are not far from the house.

I guess it’s quite difficult for a group of almost 20 people to find the right accommodation for the period of time they’re spending around, but here in the Czech Republic, CFR found almost a second home. Since I joined the team, we’ve always stayed in the same apartment, which makes the transition from the Service Course to the first World Cup quite easy for everyone.
Manuel Fumic left the barber shop to the young apprentice, Andreassen.

It’s time to build the pits, everyone not busy with other activities is helping. Not sure if this one was one of the fastest build…

First race of the season, and Mani has to finalize some details.

Time to open the shop for the mechanics. Not sure what Pete forgot at home, but the drama was quickly resolved.

Taking pictures of mechanics working could be a tricky job, but with JP on the other side of the lens, everything becomes easy.

The requests coming from Cannondale’s social media manager also include being able to tell the team’s stories off the bike. Often, a coffee break can be just the right opportunity to capture some moments of relaxation.

Routine administration before hitting the track: Kenta picks up the race numbers from the race office, and Alan attends the season’s first interview with Warner Bros.

The horse is ready to go.

Kenta spends some time on the course to understand how it has developed from the previous year and then Riders go out with him to learn the track, gaining valuable insights before the race.
The course is shorter; they removed a few sections and built some new ones but the two main features that everybody remember about Nove Mesto are still there: the deadly steep climb and the long rock garden.

Here the prototype of the new Cannondale Scalpel 2024…

The beauty of mountain biking sport is being able to be in close contact with the big names. The most passionate fans know that spending time in the paddocks is the best opportunity to meet their idols.

You can tell it’s race day by how busy the coffee machine is. The preparation is meticulous, with all details checked multiple times. Athletes follow their pre-race routine, but sometimes they interrupt their preparation to please the fans.

The first race is over. The rain didn’t let up, making the track even more demanding. The terrain, like the legs, gets heavier lap after lap. As some cross the finish line with joy, others expected much more, but the show must go on…

Last time, during a chat, Salva told me I’m using too many pics, so this time I try to make the story a bit shorter: time to think to the next one.