I'm finally home, at least for a few days, until I leave again for Mt Snow on Thursday. The Canadian World Cups went well, well at least one did. Mount Saint Anne was a disaster. I made it up to Quebec in time to get in two pratice laps on Saturday afternoon. The course was just about what I expected from a World Cup venue. Fast, steep, and technical. It rained most of the day on Friday so everything had a nice coating of grease on it too. After dialing most of the lines, I cruised down the road to the national team condo and layed low for the afternoon.
It only took me a few minutes Sunday morning after I woke up to realize that my mind was a mess. My head felt sort of foggy or cloudy, and I wasn't feeling very focused, but most telling was the lack of nerves. I did my normal pre-race thing, but the switch inside my head never flipped into race mode. Fast forward to 10 minutes after the gun goes off. We've all walked single file into the singletrack, and the inital adrenaline is fading into real pain. I feel ok. I look back. The sweep moto is 20 feet off my wheel. I'm last. Dead f'ing last, and I'm going as hard as I can. How about some karma. My bib number was 125. Besides being 3 digits and getting me a last row starting spot, that was the first number I ever pinned on my bike 9 years ago as a first timer. Seems like it bestowed the same phsyical ability I had back then too. I never got into a rhythm all day. My tire choice didn't help. A set of worn out Crossmarks were less than ideal for the slopfest the course had turned into. Frustration just kept piling on. I stayed off the back, and was pulled after 3 of 6 laps. Welcome to the World Cup.
How about something positive and optimistic. Bromont.
I always race better later in a big block of racing. I think it's a mental thing. Bromont was race number 3 in a 5 week block of national and international events, so I was starting to expect some better results. That combined with week void of anything but recovery was mentally stimulating. I like being alone and being able to do my own thing. I took Friday to go into Montreal for the afternoon and walk the city, watch street performers, and eat ice cream.I took a bit more liking to the Bromont course. It was a little more traditional for a ski resort course with a climb/descend profile. In response to the awful time I had keeping my bike upright the week prior, I swapped tires and got some real rim meat that hooked up great in the super chunk peanut butter. The course started drying out quickly during the week but the weather forecast was looking ify for the weekend with rain possible during race time. It would be one extreme or the other. I was doing my rain dance all week.
Around 12 noon, just as I jumped on the bike for the one hour spin over to the venue, I got my wish. It started raining hard. By the time I made it to the USA pit, I was soaked and my shoes were heavy with water. Then it started raining harder, and it stayed that way for the entire duration of the race. The start felt like deja vu. Dead last as we all started walking up the narrow double track switchbacks to the top of the mountain until the course started heading down. The descent was where I made it happen. Railing all the technical shortcut lines, I cruised past 5 or 6 guys each lap followed by one or two each time up the climb. Hung in there for 4 of the 6 laps before getting pulled in 74th place with a huge smile on my face. I had managed to make up about 30 or 40 spots from the start.
So for now its back at home until Thursday. Then up to Mt Snow with the experience and a quick transfer back home for the Neshaminy xc on Sunday. Then repeat the following week with Windham and French Creek for the ultimate double double weekends. I finally got a new battery for my computer, which means its a laptop again. Not a desktop.