30 May 2009 | Race Reports
World Cup #4: Madrid
We arrived in Madrid and were greeted by hot, dry weather- pretty similar to summer in Colorado. The course was almost the same as last year- dry, sandy and fast.
And then it rained.
I thought the rain would only make it faster (firming up some of the sandy corners, etc), but it was enough rain that the sand was soft and slow, and some of the corners, climbs and downhills were a little bit slick. The course dried out a bit during the pre-ride, and I think if conditions stayed the same it would have been FAST on Sunday. However, it rained some more Saturday night, and the weather Sunday morning was overcast, cool and humid. I did my customary pre-ride before my warm-up, and the course was quite a bit more slippery than the day before. I didn’t even ride the one steep downhill, because it looked like someone had already attempted that (unsuccessfully…) and it was muddy and torn-up.
This is not how I like to spend the hour before a race: hemming and hawing over the benefits of one tire over another. I’m not really a fan of changing anything at the last minute, but I did anyway. I thought that putting a mud tire on the back would give me confidence to ride the steep downhill, and more traction on the steep climbs and in the corners. So I switched my rear tire 45 minutes before the start.
I squeezed my way onto the 2nd row (thanks Waldek…), and had a great start. Then I realized my rear tire was way too soft and that it probably hadn’t fully sealed. I was still at the tail end of the front group when, about 7 minutes into the race, I went over a root and burped all the air out of my tire. Luckily I wasn’t too far from the tech zone, and I was able to ride it in and get a new wheel. Waldek performed a super-fast wheel change, and I was back on my way, but I had lost a bunch of spots. I’ll admit that I lost some motivation too. I rode around the next few laps, picked a few people off and ended up finishing 14th.
I was bummed, but then I was thinking about it and that was the first mechanical I’ve ever had since I’ve been on the Luna team. That is a testament to how hard-working and professional our mechanics Chris and Zeph are. Those guys keep everything running so smoothly that we never have to worry about the bikes, and that makes racing so much easier.
Now hopefully I can pull it together and have a good race here in Alabama!