It has been nice to do some World Cup racing on this side of the pond the past couple of weekends. I don’t know how many times I’ve raced in Quebec but it has to be up near the double digit zone. For what ever reason I never seem to put it together there and this year was more of the same. Ever since the first year I went there, got the stomach bug, couldn’t race, drove home and got sick just before I made it inside I have never made it happen there.
The course this year was dusty all week and on Friday night it poured so the early morning races on Saturday had some slick conditions to deal with. Then it dumped for the start of the girls race but dried up for our start. The course was in good condition until the last lap when it started raining again. I like to race in the rain and mud but I was riding horrible once it started to get wet. I almost launched myself off the berm at the bottom of the rock drop and nearly ran into a tree on another drop. I managed to get passed by 4 guys on the last half lap and went from 18 to 22. Just another MSA.
I jumped in the car right after the race and drove home with the family while the rest of the team hung out for a few days. We made it across the border in less then 1 minute, I usually spend at least 45 minutes there. We rolled up and there was an open inspection both, that never happens.
I had a nice few days at home before going up to Windham to reconnect with the team. It’s always great to go home and the road riding in the Hudson Valley is world class, like single track for the road bike. I had great weather while I was there too, sunny and hot. And the sleep I get at family’s house is incredible, must be all the trees back east because I think every hour is worth at least two or three in Colorado, like a sleep multiplier.
My mom made her famous baked ziti twice while I was there so my biggest problem was not eating too much.
Windham hasn’t always been good to me, the first two years we raced there I flatted both times and destroyed one wheel. Last year I had a good race there, 10th but this year was amazing! I knocked out my best ever World Cup finish, 4th. I even sprinted with Fontana for 3rd but he went around the last corner in front of me so it was unlikely for me to come around him.
The race started in the middle of town on the bridge that was the epicenter of destruction during Hurricane Irinia. I was good off the line but with all the road/dirt road up the first climb I managed to get squeezed back to the 30s. I had one of those days though where I could push and the pain felt good. I was even catching and putting time into guys on the descent with out feeling like I was too on edge. Going into the fifth of six laps I had moved up to forth and was coming for the lead group. I never made contact but after Fontana came off I was able to catch him on the last descent.
It felt so good to stand of a World Cup podium again for something other then the team competition. I’ve only stood on it one time before in Australia, the week after the Beijing Olympics. I think the field was deeper in Windham then it was in Australia too even if Absalon and Nino weren’t there. It’s disappointing that they didn’t want to travel to the U.S. and support WC XC but what can you do? You can only race the guys that show up. It was awesome to see Burry win too, he’s been close a few times this year and I was happy to see him lock up his second World Cup win. On top of that, Lea landed on her first WC podium with a 5th and Howard got his first U-23 podium with a 5th(even though they only do 3 for U-23). It was great to pay back the team with some good results after all the hard work they put in week in and week out for us. Piete is like our mom cooking us lunch, dinner, doing all the shopping all in addition to doing all the rubs. The mechanics Dylan, Spider Monkey and Jordie always keep the bikes working perfect and Benno the TM makes sure everything runs smoothly and keeps the team in stitches.
Howie and I flew out to Sun Valley on Sunday after Windham to get ready for Nationals this coming weekend. I love Sun Valley, it’s like a smaller, quainter Durango. The weather is always perfect here as well. Meg got us a great rental condo so when we aren’t out training, we’re lounging watching the Tour.
This is a pretty bland post so here are a few photos from the pervious weekend’s race to spice it up.
That is some good company my SRAM brake levers are in: