26 May 2010  |  Race Reports

World Cup #3: Offenburg, Germany

Before getting into the race report I need to write a little bit about the hotel we stayed in in Ortenburg (about 10k from the venue).  It was called Edy’s Hotel-Restaurant im Glattfelder (KinzigtalstraBe 20, 77799 Ortenburg), and it had a fantastic restaurant.  The green salad with tomatoes and white asparagus had one of the best dressings I’ve ever had.  Chris had a pork filet with mushroom sauce and homemade spaetzle that was, well, pretty amazing.  I had a tasty pan-fried fish with herbed mashed potatoes and lightly curried veggies the first night, and my pre-race meal was venison tenderloin served over a mound of fresh chantrelle mushrooms with savoy cabbage puree (much more delicious than it sounds), pureed celery root (again, more delicious than it sounds)and homemade spaetzle.  And when you are eating in a nice restaurant, it’s a sin not to test the chef’s dessert-making skills…so I had the tiramisu.  Yum.  I also feel I should mention Waldek’s strawberry and rhubarb custard (which was fantastic).  I should probably also mention that Waldek stole my last bite of tiramisu, and if he hadn’t, well things might have panned out differently the next day…

The night before the race, I was lying in bed with my heart pounding in my ears and my mind racing.  I was wide awake and it was 11pm.  I just couldn’t shut off my brain.  I was reluctant to take a sleeping pill because I didn’t want to feel at all groggy or sluggish in the morning before the race.  I laid there, wide awake for what must have been at least 2 hours (I didn’t check the clock because I didn’t want to panic about all that sleep I was missing…).  Finally I fell asleep and woke up early in the morning to a beautiful sunny day with not a cloud in the sky.

We arrived at the venue and I headed out to pre-ride part of the course.  This has kind of become part of my warm-up at world cup races.  I find that riding trails for just a few minutes before I get on the trainer and start my warm-up helps sharpen my skills (and my focus) and makes it less of a shock when I hit the trails at the start of the race.  My legs felt fresh and continued to feel good as I finished my warm-up on the trainer.  Of course, then I got to go stand around for 20 minutes during the 110 rider call-up…

Offenburg WC XC start

The start. Photo: Colin Meagher

Before the race I decided that I needed to really focus on the start: I needed to try to get the hole shot and not just be “near the front” but “AT the front.”  So…. I didn’t get the hole shot but was somewhere in the top-10.  As we came through the start/finish, it seemed like the pace had slowed a bit as no one wanted to pull on the bumpy grass.  I decided I was just going to race like I was at any other race: I went to the front and punched it to try to make it into the singletrack first- that way I could pick my own lines.

I was half expecting everyone to come around, but no one did, and I just went for it.  I was riding well in all the technical sections and my legs were still pumping with adrenaline from the start.  Right at the end of the lap, Catharine caught up to me and we rode together for a few laps.  My technical riding went downhill as soon as I was riding behind Catharine, and I started making lots of mistakes which was making me flustered.  “Settle down,” I told myself “just ride your own race.”  She would open it up on the steeper climbs and I was bringing it back on the flatter sections.  I kept the gap around 10 seconds for a few laps, but on the last lap I didn’t want to blow it, and I rode a little more conservatively to finish 2nd- my best finish at a World Cup so far.  I was really pleased- it felt great to finally put it all together at a World Cup, and it’s a relief to feel back to my old self alter a tough 2009.

Finishing 2nd at the 2010 Offenburg World Cup

Finishing 2nd at the 2010 Offenburg World Cup. Photo: Colin Meagher

Finishing 1-2 meant that we won the team competition, and Waldek and Chris joined us on the podium where we received the biggest bottle of champagne I’ve ever seen.  It was a great day for Luna- the first time the team has gone 1-2 in a World Cup.  I think we were all pleased that our whirlwind Europe trip (we were in Germany only 4 days) was such a success.

And here I sit on the flight from Frankfurt to Denver, writing a blog entry because I’ve already watched all the movies and the 74 year old Greek guy sitting next to me is sleeping (when he was awake, we were having an interesting conversation- he spoke in Greek and I tried to understand what he was saying based on his hand gestures).   Who knows, 10 hours of “immersion” might be the first step towards me being fluent in Greek…

I’ll have a few days at home before heading down to Texas for the Mellow Johnny’s Classic- the next stop of the US Pro XCT.


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