Back in Belgium after a quick stop over in France for the Ligniere-en-Berry CX World Cup, stop number 6 out of 7 on the World Cup circuit. The course was held at a Hippodrome, also known as a stadium for horse or chariot racing. Beautiful venue in the French countryside, it was a very flat area. The course took advantage of every piece of terrain change available in the area, however with a pretty flat venue, there were a lot of long straightaways, some sharp slick off camber corners and more straightaways. Morning of pre-ride was a chilly -5 and snow, race day ended up being sunny and just above freezing. The sun and breeze cause the ground to dry up a little and the course was fast!
Moving up slowly, I was the 18th call up and landed myself a third row start for the first time J. Long fast straightaway, and somehow I found a really nice opening on the left side and managed to move up a lot. Sweeping lefthander into a tight righthander, off camber into a tight right uphill corner bottleneck. Back on the bike for a quick couple pedal strokes and up the first set of stairs. Quickly back on the bike, small downhill trying to get clipped back in, and off camber sand section and more running.
From there, back on the bike, up through the pits and into a slow tight section with some good off camber downhill corners, if it had been really muddy this would have been a blast!!! Short straightaway, some more slow corners, then a long….I mean loooooong, like 200 m long, straight away along the back side of the course, followed by another tight twisty section, then another looooong downhill straight away through the pits. This was definitely the suicide pit direction, you were going so fast it was nearly impossible to get into; I had tried this side during pre-ride only to get completely run over by one of the juniors…..I have a really good bruise on my rear end to show for it.
Tight nasty weird corner at the end of the pits in mud, which claimed a lot of people, followed by yet more straight aways, tight twisty off camber corners, some running, some barriers, a fly over, some more stairs and some really weird tight corners on sand, then off to the finish straight. It wasn’t your typical European cross course, definitely not as technical overall, but there were some corners that kept you on your toes for sure.
Came through on the first lap in, WHAT, 11th place!!! First 3 laps I was in the mix, battling back and forth, but I think I may have worked a little too hard to be in this place because my fourth and fifth lap were painful. Painful like when you get that empty heavy feeling in your legs, and every pedal stroke is a battle. Held on for an 18th place and my first top 20 in a World Cup, so I do have to be happy with that!
Letting to body heal and recover and back to Hoogerheide (my first European CX race last year) for a much anticipated mud fest J