Wednesday, June 1, 2011

World Cupping

Everyone was waiting for me once the elite men’s race was over on Sunday… with all the staff and junior men and women there were probably 20 people loitering around the vans while I went to talk to Larissa at BMC about some tires. After my quick errand there, I said goodbye to David, the manager and the riders of the Euro Team. Things seemed to go well for that crew, Moritz spent the day in the chase group, and although Patrick was going backwards all day, everyone else seemed to moving up. On the way back to the vans though I popped my head into the Rothaus-Poison tent to say goodbye to Felix. He and I first were introduced 3 years ago now, when I first came to Europe. At that time I wasn’t even remotely competitive with him… last year he won the German U23 National Championships, a super talented guy. After 3 years we’ve gotten to know one another better, he’s genuinely a good person, a lot of fun to hang out with… we actually spent all day together watching the elite race with one of the German National Team coaches (who actually used to race against Marc). I regress, anyways while I dropped in I got some shoulder pats, and high fives I realized what an international family I have now in this sport. No only do I have genuine and talented friends around the globe, but people know who I am… I’m becoming a recognizable figure in this sport, and it feels incredible. Especially because I have come from such obscurity, growing up racing in central Washington, my dad and I traveling every year to Sea Otter and Nationals, racing under the banner of a Arlberg Sports, a local bike shop that would give me a deal on products. I never really conceived that I would actually make a name for myself, or be vying for a podium spot in a World Cup… I was hoping for a free frame and jersey! But its so much more than that… regardless of whether I ever have a poster made of my face, I am getting to travel the world, meet people I would never otherwise know, ride in the most incredible places and although I have always know what a treat that is, I am still learning how unique and brilliant this is.

As I have kind of eluted to, the race on Saturday was beyond words. I had a good start this time around, maybe 10th going into the first lap. I spent the rest of the race between the chase group and the lead… I would bounce between the two. The lead would surge, then slow, it was a sizable group maybe 8 guys, so I was in about the same position I finished Dalby in for the majority of those 5 laps… Just riding at my own pace. I could have forced in and gotten in the lead group, but all those surges would have wrecked my legs. It was better to be between 5-10 seconds off and just riding my own race. But dudes started popping with about two laps to go, and I again got back on the back end of the group. This time I stuck and we widdled it down to just 5 of us, with Fabian Canal about 10 sec back. On the last lap, up the twisting backside climb, zee Austrian surged and it left four of us. He only put in about 10 sec, but none of us could bring that back. I put in a big effort with about 2 km to go… I dropped everyone, but the remaining 3 worked to get me back, and then as we cruised through the final technical sections, Canal came back, and the Focus-MIT kid put in about 5 seconds on us. It wasn’t much, maybe 20 meters, but it was enough to stick on the final short, and punchy climb. I got to the front of our quartet again, fighting now for 3rd, but Canal threw some elbows, I got knocked off my line, fell back and lost Markus’ wheel with 500m to go. I just couldn’t hold the effort over the top into the stadium. The 2 meters grew to 5 and then to 10 and I sat up and rolled across the finish line! Sixth though! Damn!

I got picked for Anti-doping… it was my first time, and I absolutely didn’t drink enough during the race so although everything went fine, it took for ever. I think I put down 5 liters of Gatorade. Also, they don’t let the Chaperones go home until EVERYBODY has peed, so they were all sitting around trying to pep talk me and the Austrian while we rehydrated. It took both of us almost 2 hrs. There was some cheering on their behalf once we were done! I think they were getting tired of sitting there playing with their cell phones while all the other volunteers were out partying post race…

Unfortunately the real world doesn’t care how you finish in a world cup… my flight from Chicago to Bozeman was delayed 3 hrs… so I arrived at 130am, and didn’t get into bed until 230. Jet lag was kind enough to wake me up four hrs later, and I spent 15 hrs yesterday moving and cleaning. Got to bed at 11pm, and again jetlag woke me up with the birds at 4:30… and a bloody noise. Probably too many cleaning product fumes yesterday.

So right now its 6:20 I have already made coffee and written a blog post. Time to go scrub some kitchen floors I guess.

Heres a photo of Chloe getting gnar on the Wolf Drop. Notice the front wheel off the ground.

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