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3 July 2011  |  Race Reports

World Cup #4: Mont Ste Anne Race Report

What the heck HAPPENED?  Why has Georgia been sucking at the World Cups?  These are two questions you might be asking yourself (I know I did), and here is my attempt to explain/recount the madness that was my race in Mont Ste Anne this year:

I had a great start and found myself very comfortably in the top-5 on the first climb.  As soon as we hit the first muddy uphill in the woods, I was quick to get off and run rather than try to ride. I was able to run around everyone in front of me as they all tried to ride and had to unclip.  All of a sudden I was leading the race with a small gap. I headed into the technical rock downhill, and went over the bars at the top. Eva passed me, but I was able to get right back on her wheel.  I shook it off and got my head back in the game, and I was surprised at how slow she was riding.  I felt great and bided my time until we came through the start/finish.  I went to the front and rode hard, hoping to make the group smaller.  Catharine and Julie went by me, but I kept it close until I had another random over-the-bars crash.  I only lost about 10 seconds, and I was determined to try the A-line on the rocky downhill, but again I crashed over the bars in the SAME spot.  Then, on the small rocky section BELOW the rocky descent, I crashed over the bars AGAIN, this time I kind of landed on my head and was a little shaken.  It took me a few seconds to pick myself up and get going again.  What the heck? Why could I not ride my bike down a hill? I had lost a few places and was slightly panicked, but as soon as I started up the next steep climb I was quickly closing down gaps. I felt really strong, passed a couple people and thought the worst was behind me.

On the next long climb, I realized my front wheel had a HUGE wobble in it.  How long had I been riding on it before I noticed? Was that why I couldn’t seem to ride my bike downhill? I felt the wind go out of my sails a bit as I realized I would have to ride half a lap (including the infamous rocky descent) on my wobbly wheel.  When I got to the rock section, I took the B-line (which, while much slower than the A-line, was equally difficult I think) but ended up going over the bars AGAIN at the bottom.  When I got to the tech zone, Chris performed a super-fast wheel change and I was back on my way.  I resolved to put all the crashing and craziness behind me- I had a new wheel; I was good-to-go.

A few short minutes (2? 3?) after I got my new wheel I flatted on a steep, sandy downhill and went over the bars yet another time.  “Really?  Again?” I think I actually said that out loud.  Not sure why the flat happened- I didn’t hit anything, and I was riding in a straight line.  The tire just blew out and peeled completely off the rim before I even knew what happened.  At this point, I was so rattled I didn’t even think about using my tube and trying to put the tire back on.  I just started running.  I jogged along and could only watch as I lost place after place after place.  Finally I got to the tech zone and once again, Chris was lightning-fast with the change, and I was back on my way: one lap to go.

At this point I was in total damage-control mode.  I literally just wanted to finish the race in one piece (and preferably without going over the bars again). I made up a few spots in that last lap and was surprised to find out I finished 20th: I would still get some points and hopefully not lose too many spots in the overall. I finished the race completely beaten down, bruised, scratched and sore from running.  I was so bummed.  After feeling so good, so STRONG in the race and again not have it pan-out was pretty demoralizing.  I did some wallowing, but at a certain point you just have to move on.  One thing I try to do after every race (no matter how crappy) is come up with at least one positive thing about the race.  So my one positive thing from Mont Ste Anne was this: I had the legs. Hopefully I will have them again next weekend in Windham; things have to turn around at some point.

I’m fired up.


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