World Cup numero uno pour moi..for the year. Coming into this weekend I was more than a little nervous, it’s been over a year since I’ve done a WC and I haven’t been too sure of my legs the last couple of months, well since my field school. Not to mention my demons from last years race, with what, 20 good crashes through out the race…yikes. 75 starters for the womens field, pretty impressive for a Canadian World Cup. Based on UCI points, I was given plate 53, not great, but way less pressure being in the back. The course was almost identical to last years, tough steep climbs and awesome techy downhills. Fun and fast, but you definitely need to be on your toes the whole time. It was supposed to rain all day during the race, but only a cool overcast to keep everything perfect.
Off the start, not even 100m into the race, massive pile up. Rumors say that only the first 12 girls got away completely clean, and nearly half of the pack either went down or had to dismount to get around. Slamming on both brakes, with a full wheel lock up and being hit by more riders from behind, the only thing I could do was dismount and basically cyclocross through the mound of bikes and people. In the process the only person that I saw was Kiara Bisaro sitting in the middle of the cluster trying to protect herself from people and bikes. Later found out that she is completely covered in bruises, chainring and tire marks, and a concussion…that poor girl.
Once through the mayhem, I found myself in the mid twenties and breathing really, really hard. My first two laps, although clean, didn’t feel good at all. I struggled with some of the techy stiff and my climbing was sooooo sloooooow. By the end of the second lap I found myself in the mid thirties with a big treat to go backwards even more. Then, in the third lap, I don’t exactly what happened, but everything started slowly waking up. Teammate Susan Haywood and Wendy Simms passed me handedly, but I thought to myself “That’s enough damn it!!!!” and I grabbed Sue’s wheel. For the start of the third lap I followed her and a couple of European girls not feeling too bad at all. On a climb part way through I made my move and passed them both in an attempt to grab Wendy’s wheel. Then, following her for the remainder of the lap, passing a few more girls in the process, I punched it at the feed zone in the fourth lap to pass Wendy. I was definitely feeling a lot stronger here, not saying that the climbs didn’t hurt, but I was able to move a little faster up them. Midway through the fourth lap I also caught up to Canadian and travel partner Sandra Walter, and feeling really good I pushed slowly past her.
Entering the fifth and last lap I found myself in 25th position with two girls about a minute ten ahead. I could see them at the top of the first climb and I started pushing harder. In the end, I almost caught 24th position, missed by less than 2 seconds at the line, with 23rd within sight the whole time. Honestly, regardless of the fact that this wasn’t my best placing at a World Cup, I’m really happy because my splits from the leaders was I think the smallest ever for me. Racing an event like this definitely helps you learn how to push yourself a little more than you could before and the experience of actually racing next to someone the whole time is a whole new ball game.
Now, we’re spending a couple more days of relaxing in Mont St Anne, and then heading up north on Thursday for the next WC. Today matt Hadley, his brother Adam, Sandra, Jean Ann McKirdy and I went exploring some of the local trials and found miles of awesome singletrack. Definitely can’t complain about that J Now it’s time to feast again.