Monday, December 22, 2008

Back in the land of Cyclocross & a quick road trip to France: Nommay World Cup, December 21, 2008

Just a year ago, I made my first trek to Belgium to race 'cross. Now, in 2008, this is my third trip to Belgium this year alone. I almost feel like part of the Schamp family and it is definitely my 'home away from home.' I flew over on Wednesday, the same day I found out the good news that I actually still made the 2009 U.S. CX worlds team! I am psyched to be staying through worlds.
No rest for the weary. Arriving Thursday a.m., struggling to stay up for the day, I put bikes together, did some errands and took a short ride. Friday I was feeling much better, but still a bit sleep deprived. Then Saturday we were off. I tagged along with Katie Compton and Mark for the long drive down to Nommay. They got in a day after me and seemed to be doing much bettter than I. After a short detour in the French countryside, we arrived in Nommay for course inspection and number distribution. The course was muddy and heavy. It was going to be fun. I was actually excited to race and blow the jetlag & car ride out of my legs. It couldn't happen soon enough. Any effort pre-riding, I just felt like poo. But I knew it would come around.

Sunday morning, dodging over-filled puddles, we found parking and set up the tent. Basecamp was good. The scene in France is a bit smaller. It didn't have the excitement surrounding a race in Belgium. But it was a good course and what some referred to as 'old school'. Not sure what that means, being a 'new school' rider and all. But it was fun and had a little something for everyone, and A LOT of mud for all! The gun went off and I had lined up next to Georgia in the third row, so I thought I would do my best to work through the mass and be aggressive. Not a bad start until the mass chaos of the stairs where bikes are flying everywhere and you had to be smart not to get your pedal stuck in a wheel. I managed to get in the top 1/3 of the race by the first corner after the descent. I figured I would work my way up. It didn't quite go that way. I started to go a bit backwards, legs not having enough to muscle through the thick mud. And tire pressure... well, I ran the LOWEST I have ever run, and it was too high. I will listen to Katie from now on. I think she knows a little something about this cx racing and tire pressure. But it wasn't bad and I seemed to be riding fine. The recruited non-english speaking french man that pitted for me did a fantastic job, with my bikes being traded out every lap, being returned a bit lighter and less muddy! But after it was all said and done, I pretty much sucked. OK, I shouldn't be so hard on myself, but it was my worst WC finish yet, with a 22nd place finish. I know I can do better.
The run up at the beginning of the race after the pavement sprint and sharp 180 degree turn

Despite my performance, the USA had a super strong showing! It was amazing. 3 riders in the top 10 with 2 on the podium. Katie conqured the course, jet lagged and all (my hero) and Georgia in her first world cup landed the bronze. It was great to yell and hollar at the podium presentation, with everyone just staring at you. But it was awesome!
Katie, all smiles, post doping control with the goods!

We stuck around for the mens race, although Katie was in doping control for most of it. I had the honor of yelling for Ryan and Jamie. Powers was not there. Ryan cracked a smile a few times. At least that would mean he sort of was having fun.

The leaders. It came down to an exciting sprint. Lars led it and won!

Ryan trying to power through the thick french mud! It is way harder than it looks!

The fun began after the race when most were scrambling to get out of there and on the road for a long drive back, we went back to our hotel, drank some of Katie's winnings (it's France. They gave her wine) and had a nice dinner. That is certainly good living.
And it was a nice trip back! I promise to start taking more pictures once I kick this jet lag. Looking forward to the next race on the 26th ad Tim's arrival on the 25th. Happy Holidays to everyone!
The bike path for my monday morning spin. France is not so bad!


Brian and Jenny said...

Hey Sue
Good luck! I clicked your link from Kathy S's blog recently and have been really enjoying living vicariously... you've had a great cx season. Enjoy.

Jeff Standish said...

Nice job. You left just in time. Wish I was flying over with Tim. Maybe someday.

Keep kicking ass!! Merry Christmas


patrick said...

SO that picture, that's my new Christmas present eh?

Anonymous said...

Way to go Sue for making the worlds team! We're keeping an eye on you and enjoying every step of the way. Funny thing about wine and being on the podium. Jacob won 3 bottles of wine in Italy and he's a JUNIOR!
Melanie Rathe

Jonathan said...

all of us at the Outdoor Store knew you would make the worlds team, but on my lunch today I read about it on velonews and I just wouldn't stop telling people. Congrats on making the team.

Be sure to pick me up some Fantasy cross points while you are over there. Keep your head up and chop all of those Euros you can while in barriers/mud/stairs.

cross nats 09/10 in Bend, does that pump you up?

-Jonathan Long

Heidi Swift said...

Great job, Sue!
Keep it up - you're making Oregon proud!

erikv said...

You know we're all cheering for you here in Portland. Best of luck and happy holidays!

Anonymous said...

Just saw your result from Zolder, good job over there. Can't wait to see some video!