The week was spent riding on the course (desc. below), checking out the national forest trails nearby, sharing cooking duties and resting up for the big day. The team relay was Tuesday and the course was very slick after a good rain deposit. Canada put out a strong race, but we were unable to hold off other countries for the podium. That night we went to the open air opening ceremonies. Dressed in many layers to keep warm we watched the Mauri people clad only in thongs – bare feet and all, perform a welcome challenge for us. Not holding true to our heritage of cold weather bearers we left after 45 mins to go get warmed up.
U23 and Jr women raced Wednesday, Jr men Thursday (the course was wickedly fast this day…if only the rain would hold off), Friday and U23 men’s day and it poured all through the night and mud tires were a necessity. Max Plaxton of BC, Canada went on to run and ride his way to a bronze medal. Saturday was DH day and my teammate Fion Griffiths claimed 6th place in the SR women’s field and Mical Gato of Canada claimed bronze in the Jr Women’s race. Yehaaw!
The weekend definitely brought out more people and the race area was buzzing. It rained heavily again Saturday night, but the elites were prepared with mud tires already on our bikes. The women’s race was at 10:00 and the men at 2:00. We were scheduled for 5 and 7 laps. I was number 38 in a field of 50. Being off the European continent teams were smaller, taking only there top riders with others pulling out before the race for various reasons. I had a decent start and quickly got into rhythm. The first time down the descent was a bit sketch. I had a woman go down in front of me and had no option but to keep sliding down and into her. There was a lot of slipping and sliding and sticking a leg out for a corner that first lap, but as it dried out and new lines were worked in it got faster and faster. By early lap 2 I was in 26th position and was able to stay here take or give a spot for the next three laps. I was climbing well and descending better each lap, but by lap 4 my legs were feeling the effort. I had really wanted to attack the course the last two laps and finish strong, but when I went to do so my legs cramped up and I went slower. I lost two positions on the climb last lap and then another three on the climb before the descent. Argh. I followed my teammate Wendy into the descent and we ripped it up, but not enough to catch the Kiwis that had gotten in front. So it was a good race, but a tough end. I finished in 32nd, my best Worlds finish, but not the result I would have liked. I guess I just have to get 10 minutes faster so it could be a 2hr 08 minute race rather than a 2hr 18 ;-) then I wouldn’t have to worry about fading in the last 10-15 mins. Marie Helene Premont earned another bronze medal for Canada with Alison Sydor finishing 9th and Kiara Bisaro14th. Wendy and I finished back to back 31 and 32.
After a quick lunch and shower we all headed back to watch the men’s race. It was a great race start to finish between Absalon and Sausser, Kessikof and Naf. The course was much more tacky making faster climbs and descents. Seamus was our top placing Canadian in the top 25 followed a couple positions back by Ricky Federau, Kabush and Toulouse.
That night the team and staff went out for dinner to celebrate a week and season of good rides and great staff support. Personally I’d like to send out a big thanks to Norco. My bike rides beautifully and support was great. I’d also like to thank Keith, Dan, my family and my soon to be in-laws. All of your support is greatly appreciated.