Team Cyclingnews.com - Down Under - 2004
XC World Cup #4, Schladming, Austria; XC World Cup #5, Mont St Anne, Canada
Rain wreaks havoc
XC World Cup #4 - CDM, Schladming, Austria, June 19-20, 2004
Arrived Tuesday to some very nice weather - 18°C - with just a small amount of rain overnight.
Course was the shortest course I've ever raced on; 4.5km but with more climbing per lap then I've ever raced on in one lap. Nearly half of the lap was climbing. Descents steep with tight switchback corners and a short flat section through the town centre. Course was perfect after warm sunny days all week.
Felt strong in practice on climbs and was ready for a hard race come Sunday. We were told five laps, which is about half the distance we normally race; the organizers must have known something.
Was not to stay dry: Saturday night it dumped down rain and did not stop until about lap 2 in the race. Course was so not thought out for wet conditions. Straight off the start line, it was get off bike and run to the top of climb then slide back down again.
When I WAS riding my bike and not running I felt good; hung in for 33rd. My legs were so sore from running about 12km I think it was.
XC World Cup #5 - CDM, Mont St Anne, Canada, June 27, 2004Epic travel day as they all seem to be. Three hours' sleep after a weekend race as I had an early flight from Austria to Quebec (Canada). Think it was about 24hrs of travel with min sleep and then immigration at Quebec airport deciding 12 o'clock would be a nice time to hold me up some more. Arrived at accommodation about 2AM after taxi ride.
I ve raced here in Canada a couple of times before so I new a little about course. Up and down with no long climbs but with a lot of slippery single-track with tree roots and slat rock - made for a very energy-draining course.
Start of race: weather started out warm, but with rain threatening. Race spread out really quick from the start with big time gaps between riders early in the race. My start was OK, but feeling better as race went on. Managed to stay upright in the slippery single-track which was claiming many riders through crashes and flat tyres.
Lap 5/6: down came the rain and the course totally changing. Straight into a tree on one of the fast (now very slippery) descents, I decided to start running more sections of the course as it was quicker and not worth crashing; I just wanted to finish in one piece. Was glad to finish; 21st was an OK result.
Been a busy 6-7 weeks of travelling/ racing. Back to Belgium for a few days of rest and then back into some solid racing with my team-mates. Will find out this week the outcome for selection for the Olympic mountain bike team.