21-06-02 NORBA #3, Snow Shoe, West Virginia.
After a couple of very frustrating weeks, I finally finished a race, and in
2nd place! The course here in West Virginia was what I call a real MTB course!
The long descents were steep, with heaps of gnarly roots and rocks. The climbs
were equally as tough... long, steep, and hot. Maybe I am a bit biased though, as
I usually like a course after I do well! I had the worst starting position, as
I didn't have any NORBA points, so heading into the first downhill I was in
about 20th place. I had to fight hard for the first 2 laps (of 5), while Roland
and Ryder did their standard thing, opening up a 20sec gap on the struggling
field. I managed to catch them on the second downhill, partly because I was
riding my full suspension Scalpel, and a Dual Slalom (2.2) front tire! That was
a bit of an experiment for me today (I have never seen anyone ride XC with a
tire this big!). It was Doug's (our DH mechanic) idea, after he rode the course.
We had cut down the center knobs to help lower the rolling resistance, and at
the end of the day, I think it was a brilliant idea. I managed to hang onto
Roland for another lap, meanwhile we dropped Ryder, but then Roland put down the
hammer up the steep climbs, and I had nothing left to respond. This guy is just
too strong! Finally I almost blew on the last lap, and just managed to hold on
for my second best finish in a NORBA.
I will race the short track tomorrow, but I haven't done too well at these
recently, so I will look at it like good hard training!
Mont Ste Anne World Cup #3 6/23/02
My hands are still sweating after today's hot and humid World Cup. We've been having some great weather this week, making the swimming pool the social place to hang out after training. Its been a
fun week, as all the down hill riders were here, and I've been able to catch up with a bunch of friends from kiwi land.
The course here has always been technical, but this year they even made it
tougher. Some of the tracks were freshly made, and some mid week rain made it
very soft and tricky to ride. This was surely one of the most crucial points on
the course, splintering the field early on. I was just off the back from a huge
leading pack after 1 (of 6) lap. I knew that I had to get up there if I wanted
to be on the podium, so I really gave it all. But I ran out of stem after 2
laps, and had to settle into my own rhythm. Christoph was having an awesome day,
and had the series leaders jersey clearly in sites. But then on the 4th lap he
punctured, and then shortly broke his chain. I had to feel sorry for him, as it
really screws up his whole season. Fillip Meirhaeghe benefited from it though to
take the win, and the overall lead! Good for him I guess. It just shows how up
and down cycling can be. For me, I managed to hold it together for 9th place. I
actually had caught up to 6th place with one lap remaining, but then I real
ly suffered on the last lap. it was just one of those funny days.
Next stop, Vancouver!!!