13 May 2010  |  Race Reports

World Cups #1 and #2

Once again, I am falling behind in my race reporting.  So now, since I really want to write about the delicious Thai food I cooked last night, I am forcing myself to catch up with the race stuff first.  For those more interested in Thai food- proceed to the next post- nothing to see here…

World Cup #1: Dalby Forest, England

I had a pretty good call up (12th).
I lined up on the outside.
Why then, you might ask, did my start suck so badly?
That’s a good question.

In any case,  by the end of the start loop I was somewhere in the 30s, and already nearly 30 seconds back. I wasn’t the only one who had a crappy start- Catharine, Lene, Maja, and plenty of other fast folks were stuck back there too. Catharine and I moved up steadily until we made contact with the chase group of 3rd- 7th. Katerina was in that group, and pretty much as soon as we caught up the group it blew apart.  Catharine made a good move to get into the singletrack in front of the group, and from then on it was the three of us (Katerina, Catharine, and I) riding together for the final two laps.

I was suffering at the end, but I made my move before a short technical climb (no one could ride it but most women would try, come to a stop and then get off and walk the rest).  I used my amazing cyclocross skills to dismount at the bottom, keeping my momentum and running the rest of the way. Then I just put my head down and pedaled hard for the last few minutes of the race.

Katerina ended up coming around me in the sprint for 3rd (if you could even call it a sprint- I was so tired I couldn’t even stand up and the finish straight was covered in deep gravel making me feel even slower). Catharine narrowly missed the podium- losing her sprint with Julie Bresset.  We still won the team competition and it was pretty cool to have all 3 of us in the top 6.

The day after the race, we piled in the van and drove to London where we got out the bikes and spent a few hours seeing the sights (and patronizing the coffee shops nearby).
The next day we completed our drive to Houffalize via the Euro-tunnel.

World Cup #2: Houffalize, Belgium

This year the course was a bit shorter and had a bunch of really steep climbing and freshly cut singletrack.  Weather in Belgium was cool but sunny and dry- right up until race day when the sky opened up and it started dumping.  So instead of calmly warming up, we were all rushing around in a frenzy trying to decide on tires.

I pre-rode a short section of the course to see how muddy it was getting and decided to switch to mud tires (I can always use a little extra confidence- especially on steep, slippery downhills).  I had a pretty decent start, but still managed to be behind the cluster of crashes on the first downhill.  I wasn’t riding very well, didn’t have confidence and had an all-around poopy attitude.  For those first few laps, I was just surviving.  (There is an awesome photo (or series of photos) that Dave McElwaine took of me bailing on one of the steep, rocky sections- I’ll add it to the “wall of shame.”)

After a slippery first lap, the course started to dry out, and I finally pulled my head out of my ass and actually rode my bike (albeit still pretty slowly on the downhills), but the damage had been done and I was already several minutes back.  I was, however getting EXCELLENT traction on all the flat, dry grassy sections- nothing like riding a mud tire when it is no longer muddy to make you feel really fast….or not.  So I finished 14th- which was disappointing, but I certainly wasn’t riding well enough to do better than that, so I can’t be too upset.

“Water under the bridge” as Ben would say.

Looking forward to the next World Cup in Offenburg next weekend.


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