I am a little confused about this weekend. I had amazing legs. I know the fitness is absolutely there. But I don’t know if everyone else it just more fit, or my inability to establish a rhythm was the problem. That’s what I feel like the issue was... After an amazing start where I launched myself up into the top 20, I just know I have what it takes to have an amazing race, but I feel like the circumstances, i.e. dealing with traffic, high-speed road sections, having to get on and of the bike, just threw off any sort of rhythm I would have otherwise hoped to establish. I feel like if I had been able to just settle in and have my race, things could have gone completely differently. I always felt like I was racing at someone else’s tempo, slower on the climbs than I would have liked, faster on the descents that I was able to go. And it meant I was constantly at the back of groups, missing moves that were able to move forward and bridge to groups further up. I guess that’s something to chock up into the memory and utilize in the future. I need to stay at the front of these groups instead of being content at the back hoping I get dragged along going forward. the more I can learn the better equipped I will be next time around.
For certain the elites are faster than the U23’s… but I remembered this race playing out with lots of 2-3 person groups separated by 10-15 seconds, a hard race for sure, but one where I was able to race my race… not someone else’s. And that just certainly wasn’t the case this year. I felt like I was always in a group with 8-10 people until the last lap and a half when things finally started to blow up. I think part of that was conditions too, people stuck together because there was a fairly long high-speed road section where it was important to be in a group with the wind. But with just one or two people you work together, in a group of ten people just sit and then attack once the road is over. I have never been very good at that type of racing. I like to be able to dictate my own pace and just go. I can leave it all out there that way. So although certainly there were moments when I was 110% out there, I feel like I averaged maybe 90%. And that’s not good enough to have a good world cup result. It takes 100% the whole time.
Going downhill like a small child doesn’t help either. And I don’t really know what that was about. I stayed off the brakes as much as possible, took the lines that the guys faster than me were taking, but alas I just couldn’t ever find my ability to shred. I guess I just need to think about how to race at other peoples pace better. I think that takes a lot of mental energy, but its there, I just need to tap into that.
I crossed the finish line feeling completely unsatisfied. There were bright spots (awesome start and legs), but it was mostly a race that was full of lack-luster moments. I’m ultimately pretty disappointed because last year I had such a stellar race here. But I feel more focused right now that I did going into the weekend… and my eyes are more fixed on the Olympics than ever. I’d like to believe that if I can put together a stellar race in France, I solidify my potential as an Olympic candidate, which is ultimately what I am after and all I can extend my control over… from there its just up to selection committee. I think Sam locked it up this weekend, and Todd finally showed his cards too, but I don’t think it was any more impressive than my result in Houffalize. I’m ready to learn from this and see what I can do before this big spring campaign is over this coming weekend in La Bresse. I think it would be a little tough to be motivated if it weren’t for the fact that it’s a World Cup and I have incredible fitness right now! I’ve just gotta keep thinking about that. Maybe this is the swift kick in the ass I need for this coming weekend. It’ll sure help me keep my eyes on the prize for one more week!