Andorra & Switzerland World Cups
Well kids, believe it or not but it kind of feels like the season is flying by. A terrifying thought given that I have to move up to Elite next year but one must keep in mind there are still a couple months left of blissful U23 racing.
This last trip to Europe was a solid one and a little bit longer than Eurotrip 1. That is because of thin air. Altitude prep and acclimatization took place before the Vallnord, Andorra World Cup. Did it help? To be absolutely honest, I have no clue, I still felt like a sack of potatoes – however, slice those potatoes up, fry them, add some salt and they’d be delicious. And that is how my race went: bad when raw but still delicious once fried. Potentially the worst metaphor in the history of the world, but let me explain, potatoes are bad raw and I didn’t have a good start, nor did I feel great in warm up, however, I started to feel better nearing the end of the race once I was ‘fried’. The first descent is a long treacherous one and with my bad start the gaps opened up immediately. I would claw, bite, fight, and will myself to keep going regardless of the gut pain (something I ate) and the diaphragm-zmic agony. Finished up 7th, feeling a little deflated but happy to hold onto a top 10 and this consistent finish would move me up in the World Cup ranking to 4th.
Lenzerheide is kind of the Banff of Switzerland. That being said, I have only ever really been to Zurich in addition to flying through Geneva once, so that statement might be a little ignorant. Magical area, Lenzerheide, with the beautiful mountains surrounding the venue, bike paths everywhere, a lake to skinny dip in post race and lift access to host both XCO and DHI. The course in Lenzerheide Bike Park was a tough one although the actual amount of climbing was significantly less than most World Cups. The course would just pummel you from start to finish with little punch climbs, rough bumpy sections, an array of roots, rocks and a lovely paved road climb to get the HR even higher. This is a fantastic track to ride, however, at race speed it is relentless.
During the race, I had a so-so start, although I consider myself lucky to avoid a massive pileup. I would claw my way into 4th by the end of lap 1 as I was feeling good, riding well and maybe was a little too confident (nah). The paved, steady climb (of which I thought was going to be a strong point on course for me) turned out to be my nemesis during the race. The entire lap I would be pinned through all the rough stuff, shredding hard and making up spots only to have them slip away when it actually mattered on that climb. Disappointed and a little irked, I wasn’t about to let myself slip outside of the top 10. On the final lap I went hunting, fuelled by regret of not following moves in laps 2 & 3, I left it all out there to claim 10th. The race was a little long for us as wee U23s with a final time of 1h28m for the winner. I would finish just about 2.5min back and a little dispirited. This dispiritedness would quickly be incinerated by a fury of motivation leading in this latter half of the season.
Up next is National Championships in Canmore, Alberta. Racing with bear spray should be a time!