30 July 2011  |  Misc

Olympic Test Event: London, Pre-Race

It’s hard to believe the last few weeks of the Mountain Bike season are here already.  It has been a long season in some ways, but there are are few big races still to come.  After some hemming and hawing, I decided to skip the last US Pro XCT race in Missoula and come to the Olympic test event instead.  So here I am in a hotel in Basildon resting up for the race tomorrow.  Team USA is pretty small- just me, Jeremiah Bishop, Marc (team manager), Bernard (soigneur, PT) and Tom (mechanic), but it’s a fun group, and everyone is excited to be here.  We are all ready for “total domination and intimidation” (the official Team USA game plan).

The course is the same as it was when I rode it in May.  It’s tough: there are plenty of short ups and downs with very little opportunity for recovery.  Many have complained that the course isn’t technical, but I disagree.  Sure, when you are rolling around in an easy gear it doesn’t seem too bad, but once you add speed things change quite a bit.  Many of the corners are loose and gravelly, there are some steep sections that you come into blind and some tight switchbacks that require a bit of finesse to ride smoothly; add a little speed and things get tricky.  But when it comes down to it riding a course is different than racing on it, so I am looking forward to the race tomorrow.

(Side note: Yesterday when I was pre-riding, I came into one of the man-made rock sections and there was blood spattered on the rocks at the top of the feature.  It was a nice touch, you know, just to keep you on your toes…It won’t work, team Great Britain, you can’t intimidate me!  haha)

After the race I will pack up and head to Italy to visit some cousins and get in some training before the last round of World Cups.  I always look forward to visiting Italy: the country is beautiful, the culture is laid back and the food…well, the food is delicious.  Even at gas stations.  I think that’s how you should judge a country’s passion for food: by what you can get to eat in a gas station.  Italy would take the cake.  And the US…Ok, we have some work to do…But I digress.  The other reason I enjoy visiting Italy is I actually have family that lives there.  Having a “home-away-from-home” makes a big difference when you are on the road for weeks at a time.


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