My First World Cup Race!
(photo by Armand Arekian)
(photo by Armand Arekian)
Windham, NY was a blast this weekend. Starting plate 74 of 81, but some didn't show or DNF'd. I finished 48th of 64, 8th USA finisher, good enough for 20 UCI points. I am happy with my race, a very safe, steady race, I really did not want to blow up or crash out of my first World Cup race. Obviously a nice safe race is not going to get one very far with this crowd, but racing the top racers in the world is fun!
The picture in the NY Post Office where the local folks in line behind me wanted to chat about bikes and what exactly mountain bike racing was. Anywhere else they would have probably been irritated having to wait on me to send so many packages. The people in this town were so into the race, it was awesome; and apparently there really is a camel in town.
The crowd, I can't believe how many people came out to watch!
This is my favorite XC course, you can see how much work they put into these trails. And it felt like a proper UCI race, it was taped and signed well, same orange paint as used at the Marathon World Championship race a few weeks ago and communication to the racers was good. I think I said this last year, but it felt like they really wanted us there. I had fun during the race, the trails were awesome, and the weather was perfect; big rain earlier in the week left a few mud spots and slick roots to make for perfect east coast riding. I wouldn't call it technical, but if you were not smooth you would slip out or hit rocks hard enough to flat (as many of the guys did).
Monday 8/23: Packing, Recovery Socks, Post Offices and Driving in the Rain.
Anyone who is expecting Recovery Socks (or Fluid Recovery) I finally got them mailed, from NY. If you wonder why the packaging is a bit crumpled this is why: I spent all day Monday (in Durango, CO) packing for NY and the socks arrived right before I left. Perfect! I packaged everything and planned to send them from the Bayfield, CO Post Office on the way to Albuquerque, NM. I was a little late, it closed at 4:00pm (?), small town I guess. I figured I'd use the APC (automated postal center), oh wait they don't have one. Neither did Bloomfeild or Aztec, but I called Albuquerque and got an address for an APC near where we were to spend the night. Todd met me on the road near Bernallio and we went to the post office together in the pouring rain. I grabbed all the packages, tried to cover them from the rain, ran in the post office only to see an out of order sign taped to the APC. We repacked bags to take them to NY and try again.
Tuesday 8/24: Horrible travel day. Up at 4:15am, 4 flights due to a plane mechanical, arrived NY ~11:00pm, the luggage and bikes had not made it to NY, we stood in line to fill out paper work for missing bags and left with a rental car which we hoped would fit the bike boxes on the return trip.
Wednesday 8/25: The luggage and bikes arrived at noon! I immediately went over to the Cannondale tent, set up a stand and started getting my Scalpel in shape to ride, new Jagwire cables and housings, swapped tires, removed lefty spacers, etc. I "borrowed" a pump from the Kenda tent and had fun hanging out with Jack (sp?) the Euro Mechanic as he dialed in all the big boys bikes. I got in a quick lap on the course right before dark, it was really muddy and slippery, pretty fun but my east coast skills didn't come back right away so it was a slowish but super fun lap. I washed the super-muddy, grass-filled bike and went grocery shopping. Todd spent the day in the condo working.
Thursday 8/26: Stopped by the NoTubes tent for a top off on sealant, it is always cool to see these guys, a good source of updates on product, other athletes and places to visit/ride. Back to Cannondale for more work on the bike, I needed some spacers for my cranks and still could not get the rear shifting right, so I headed to SRAM for some help and ended up with a new rear derailleur. Support is so key, thank you NoTubes, Kenda, Cannondale and SRAM!
Todd, my #1 sponsor!
Friday 8/27: Picked up race packet at 10:30 which was cutting it a little close, if I had missed the 11:00 deadline no World Cup for me and they were serious about that. I got in a nice ride around town and one lap on the course then Todd washed my bike while I changed. Wow, for the first time all year I am ready to race an entire day early! At 1:30 we headed over to the post office to send the packages, it was closed till 2:00 (no APC) so we went for a coffee and came back. The post office was small, one window and a line, but everyone was really nice and the packages finally went out! Todd headed over for the evening Team Managers meeting to learn the details of the race and I checked off the last few to do items, water bottles, lay out clothes, good to go!
Saturday 8/28: I woke up at 4am seriously nauseous and throwing up! Around 8:00 I went up to the kitchen and the smell of food made me sick, I was able to keep down some Gatorade so tried two egg whites, no dice, I was violently ill. (We did not eat out, so I am blaming the spinach from the local market, it tasted bad and I only had two bites before going to bed.) About this time Todd said he didn't think he was going to let me race, I know he was just concerned and didn't mean it, we packed up the car and headed to the venue with a just-see-what-happens approach. I sat in the car still nauseous and he went in search of something to help, he found tums in the gift shop but no one to pay, so left $2 on the counter. I ate the tums, kept sipping Gatorade, got ready, felt much better and started spinning around. I had a good warmup and since I didn't have any expectations for this race, I was fine mentally. I am starting to learn that you should always expect one crisis moment, it is just part of racing and everyone else deals with it too. I came for experiences, I didn't expect my first ever food poisoning case, but am happy to know I can deal with it and still race well.
I was chill on the race start, trying to avoid getting crazy and wrecking. I ended up last going into the singletrack and actually sat on my bike while everyone but the leaders (who were gone) jumped off and tried to fight 5 wide to get in the singletrack first. This was part of the experience I was looking for, was it smart to try to run through the weeds to get a few spots, or better to conserve energy? From where I was I got to watch all options, some were able to pop out way ahead of where they were, others were not. After that it was a pretty normal race, pass when you can, chill on the downhills behind slower descenders, or try risky passes, I just chilled and had fun on the downhills and tried to work the climbs. I would say the Marathon Worlds race was an awesome experience, but this was fun! I stayed through the men's race then went home and watched movies on the couch. Drinking and eating junk was going to have to wait, I didn't feel like eating anything. I missed 4X but everyone was talking about how great it was, we watched the fireworks from the condo.
Sunday 8/29: It was funny to not have short track or Super-D today, I could have done the Citizens pro women's race, but didn't think about it ahead of time. Fully recovered, we watched DH on the big screen, that was so cool! Drank margaritas, hung out at the venue, went to Taste Cafe, bought sherbet and cookies, went out for dinner, then to the brewery.
Lunch at Taste.
I love Taste, they make anything you want and are really friendly. They were even delivering to the venue free of charge.
It's now time to pack up and see if the bike boxes fit in the rental car. Interbike is the next thing on my schedule, I'll chill in Durango and/or Santa Fe till then. I don't even know what I am doing next weekend, maybe I'll stay in Durango and do the road rides I did last weekend. What about cross, maybe I should look into that, of course that means I'll need another bike (or two).