Okay, I think I’m finally recovered from jet-lag.. That’s been my excuse for the really late Madrid race report. So here’s the quick and dirty recap.
Madrid is a huge sprawling city of about 4 million people (yikes) and a very confusing net-work of roads, thus the theme of week, as you’ll undoubtedly hear from any other North American, was getting lost….but that’s a whole other topic. The race course this weekend was set at Casa de Campo, a huge park almost right smack in the middle of this great city. Although this is really neat racing right in Madrid, the park comes stock with all night people and is supposedly not very friendly after hours….as well, you had to guard your bike and valuables a little more closely than usual.
The course is extremely fast hard packed and there is nothing technical, except for the fast loose corners. And although there are no long extended climbs, each lap seems to have a fair bit of climbing. The start was very fast and the course was not very conducive for passing, however there was a lot of jostling which resulted in a couple of good crashes. Alison Sydor however was absolutely amazing to watch seemingly dance through the crowd, every time I tried to follow her wheel, the gap would close up….it was pretty amazing. I had a call up of 49th position and managed somehow to move into a really good position for the first climb, but due to the shear volume of people, I was forced to get off my bike and run. In the process I got tangled up with another girl and had to fight to get her pedal out of my front wheel. That momentary blip in my plan caused me to loose valuable time and at least 20 spots.
Due to the nature of the course, riding in packs and drafting was a very important tactic, very similar to a road race. I was feeling great, moving up from one pack to another, making my move over the top of the climbs, until I finally ended with a pack that was moving at a good constant clip.. quickly picking off lone riders. I think again this is a very deceptive course with respect to the amount of climbing, the many small steep climbs tend to creep up on you, and near the end of the race people were slowing down and blowing up like crazy. Slowly the group I was racing with started splitting up and in the last lap I found myself jockeying with a Spanish racer. I ended up taking one of the corners a lot faster than she did and just about took her out….not a very good idea in front of a Spanish crowd….ooops. I finished up in 27th position, not as high up as I was hoping for, but there was only 7 minutes separating myself and in leader, yup, it was a really tight race.
After the race we had a great “team Canada” super at a restaurant in the park. I don’t know if ox is a Spanish dish, but Ricky, Catharine, Sandra and myself shared some delicious ox loin…mmmmm, it was great supper and really cool to hang out with a bunch of Canadian racers.
Monday night I found myself sleeping on the Madrid airport floor next to a large guy with an amazing capacity to reverberate his snore around the entire terminal…needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep that night. After 13 hours of flying, plus more the 18 hours in airports Dallas picked me up on the Calgary end of things, only to have me sleep the next 14 hour. But man, did I ever need that.
Fast forward to the present.... had a blast this past weekend in Edmonton at the Perogy XC race. United Cycle and the organizers did an amazing job of putting together a great event. Got to hang out with my boyfriend, family and lots of people I haven't seen all winter...it was wonderful...as well as enjoyed some stellar race time perogies. Currently I'm cramming my butt off to get ready to write my last final exams next week....oh yeah, but first, I'm off to California on Wednesday for the next NMBS race....I'll keep you posted.