OUCH - pretty much sums up the entire first World Cup race for me, and from what I hear, for a lot of other people as well...at least I'm not the only one who was suffering. It stopped raining and the sun was shining bright for the start of the race. It actually got warm enough to ditch the arm and leg warmers and start drying the course out a little.
I totally wasn't prepared for the pace at the start of the race, oh my goodness, and I've typically got a good start. The pace off the gun was astounding (and watching the men's start, the lead quads almost didn't make the first corner due to the pace). I managed to hold my own up the climb, spinning and conserving energy, I think I actually moved up a couple positions because people were blowing up left, right and center. But when I think about it, I probably would have been better off going a little harder up the climb and moving into a better position for the first singletrack. The only person that I recognized during the climb was Willow Koerber, but rumor has it Sandra Walter was blazing the Canadian trail up in 5th place going into the forest..great job.
By the time I hit the first mucky singletrack, everyone was running and climbing over eachother just to gain a position. I actually saw a small Russian racer come up and intentionally push another girl off her bike and down a steep slope.....pure madness. Due to the fact that you were completely limited by the pace of the pack at this point, I actually felt really good when things opened up a little and found myself very quickly picking off spots on the climbs, just by easily spinning past people. Finishing up the start lap and first lap, I felt pretty good, and heard at one point that I had moved into top 40..wow, this was easy.
The second lap was uneventful and stayed relatively in the same position, and still feeling like I could push it when I needed, and there was lots of energy left in the tank. But by the time the third lap came around, my body just started shutting down....my legs collectively decided that they weren't really into doing work anymore and each pedal stroke became a battle. By the time I pulled into the start finish area, I was sure that I was going to get pulled, there was absolutely no way I was going to be able to finish a final lap. But I rolled through the expo and started up the climb again. My final lap was definitely my slowest and I lost about 5 minutes off my pace in that lap alone, but I'm actually really proud of myself for finishing at that point.
The race ended up being 2 hours and 36 minutes for me....crazy, I though World Cups were supposed to be shorter. All I could think about at the end was the crazy large crepes with nutella that I had seen the in the expo earlier...I mean, when you burn 2700 calories in 2 and 1/2 hours, what else should you be thinking about.
We're back in rainy Switzerland now, and I actually just finished a trainer ride....I'm serious, it's really not nice out right now. Going to rest up, stretch up, eat up and reflect on this past weekends events...it can only get better from there. I have a massage booked for tomorrow, and on thursday we're headed up to Offenberg, Germany to get ready for the second World Cup. I hear it's supposed to be another mucky one.