Nothing like race day to get the blood flowing. Throw in a World Cup. Add in some Belgium fans. And you have a pretty heavy day. There is something about the World Cup atmosphere in Belgium that is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. The fans are out in the thousands. The riders are all a bit on edge. The spectacle is that much bigger. It is actually pretty cool.
For some reason, I let this all get to me. I got caught up in the excitement of the World Cup and of racing at Koksijde. I let myself wrap myself in a tight ball of expectation and pressure. Not the smartest thing to do. But it happened. I was pretty good all week – just reminding myself of the big goal and not putting any extra pressure on myself for an outcome today. And then it happened. I started wanting more. (Marc could sense this was happening last night, but I steadfastly denied it….)
I was pretty calm all morning. Went through my regular race preparation. Got there nice and early and snagged a spot in the same parking lot as the BKCP team and Erwin Vervecken. Hooked up with Pete Harris (Nikki’s dad) for a chat and met the rest of his family. They were super helpful today – from the warm mug of tea to taking my warm-up clothes at the start. Hung out with Kate and Ian of Australia for a bit. Got some last tips from Rudy. All in all a pretty good morning. I connected with my mechanic – Serge (from the BKCP team). Many thanks to Serge and Christophe who made the trip today just for me as their rider Philipp Walsleben wasn’t racing today. Serge and Christophe took care of the pits for me, checking my tire pressure, cleaning my bikes, cheering me on and just being there for anything that I needed. This helped so much.
Funny, so many people said to me today – “you’re from Canada? You’re here alone?”. I would just smile and say “yes”.
Also big thanks to the Mongolian team (Johan Museeuw’s team) manager – he got their mechanic to fix my shifter for me and offered to take my warm-up clothing and help out any way he could. This is the amazing thing about cyclo-cross – everyone is super supportive and willing to help out.
I’ve written a race report where you can read about the race. In short, it wasn’t one of my best performances. I fought the bike. I fought my head. Plain and simple – I struggled. Guess it had to happen sooner or later. I’m glad I’ve gotten it out of my system.
I had planned on driving to Gieten, Netherlands for tomorrow’s race. But I decided not to. Talked to a wise man after the race who suggested I just go home. So here I am. Not sure what I’ll do tomorrow. Just go out and have some fun on my bike. Ride the forest maybe and link this up with some road riding. Tomorrow is another day and it will be a good one.
I guess I should tell you that today wasn’t all bad. I did collect some very valuable UCI points…. I now have 91 points. I needed 75 to make the qualification standard for the World Championships. Cool. Very cool. This has been a big goal of mine for a while now. I still need to get selected (find out on Dec. 11) but I can proudly say that I got the job done. It might not have been the prettiest – but it is done. The other silver lining from today are the lessons. Can’t ever forget the lessons. And I think the biggest lesson for me today is that: things don’t come over night. It takes time and practice. And then more time and practice. It is coming together for me. I just need to keep plugging away. I have a super big engine – now I just need to get my technical skills to match the engine. I’m better technically today than I was when I got here. But I need to remember that this stuff takes time. The 2010 World Championships are in Koksijde – I intend on being there…
(Guess first I should get to Tabor, Czech Republic. But hey – I’m a forward thinker!)
I have to finish this post with saying thanks to my super number one fan – Marc. He really saved me today after the race. It was an expensive phone call but it saved my day. I’ll be so happy to see him on Monday. Monday really can’t come soon enough for me. Without Marc’s support I wouldn’t have been able to even race this race today. Thanks Marc – you are my rock.