Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Nove Mesto Na Morave World Cup



The first time to an unknown country and venue you never quite know what you will get.  In Czech we got a fantastic course, a well run race and amazing crowds which rivaled those in Quebec during the World Championships.  With riders like Katerina Nash and Jaroslav Kulhavy hailing from the Czech Republic it's no wonder.

After three solid weeks of training at home and in Europe, lots of driving across Europe and having Keith going home, i was feeling pretty tired and worn down.  My legs felt good, but I wasn't sleeping that well and knew that mentally I would have to be extra prepared in case the race didn't go the way I wanted it to.  That if I had a mechanical, a crash, got passed by too many women, that I would have to be able to regroup quickly.  Mental fatigue can cause most of the inconsistency you see in race results.  But I had a great sleep before the race and woke up with good energy.

I wanted to win here, not just because I always want to win, but because I want to win the World Championships and don't want people thinking that I won because the actual fastest women this year (Julie Bresset) has to race under 23.  Winning at these last two world cups could show I am the fastest woman during the 2nd half of the season.

I liked the course.  It reminded me a bit of Revelstoke, BC with loamy forest floor and lots of roots.  The descents were like pump tracks, the climbs wide, but wooded and rooty and some small rock garden obstacles were added in for variety.

We raced 6 laps plus the start loop.  I had a good start, immediately grabbing Eva Lechner's wheel.  Into the first descent I was 6th wheel with Julie leading, but as I had guessed this was too far back as Julie started pulling away and I was trapped a couple riders back and lost 15 seconds by the time I could clear traffic and reach the start finish.

Into chase mode I tried to claw back the gap.  By mid lap I had contacted Julie.  I trailed her into the descent and up the trickiest climb where taking an alternate line I passed her.  She didn't want to give up the lead though and raced me into a drop with us both airing off of it at the same time.  Pretty exciting.  Back following it was all good till we hit the rock gardens and I forgot how to ride my bike and lost 18 seconds with 2 awkward screw ups.

Chasing again and now with Irina and Eva chasing me hard.  Argh.  Mental regroup and chase.  Eva was gaining on me on the first climb, but the pace was too much and she had to back off.  I held steady and one lap later I was reeling in Julie. By the main climb I had caught her at the base and seeing she was fading I  attacked immediately.  I looked back at the top and had a good gap.  I built the gap to 35-40 seconds and held it for the rest of the race with Julie holding onto to second and Irina taking 3rd.

Katerina had an emotional 13th place finish in front of the home country crowds and Georgia followed her in in 14th.  Canadian women had a great day with Emily taking 8th, one position ahead of Marie Helene who was struggling with a sore stomach.  

So I have moved closer to the overall lead, but it would take another win by me and  Julie finishing outside the top 8 or 9 to get it so I may have to settle for another good single day and hopefully a great World Championship.

After the race the Luna team travelled with Katerina's family to her hometown of Prachachice for 2 days rest in the country.

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