World Championships Pre-Ride

Hit up the World Championships course this afternoon for a bit of pre-riding. It is as we expected – icy. Most of the corners are glare ice. But with some special ice riding techniques and a boatload of confidence, the course is super fun.

Actually – I really like it. There is nothing “crazy” or “scary” on the course. I think the key is stay relaxed and to really try to maintain speed. There are some steep ups after the start section that get the heart rate up and the pain in the legs. There are some definite leg sucking, lung burning climbs. The two stair sections are challenging because the steps are so big. A tricky off-camber thrown in to rattle the nerves a bit. The fly-over is okay – the entrance is a bit tricky – definitely need to get the post swinging action down. The descent and corner off the fly-over are fast and slippery.

Definitely a course that keeps you on your toes. I’ve watched the video of the Czech National Championships so many times, but the video does not do the course justice. I didn’t realize how much the camera deadens out the steepness of the ground. There is a reason why the guys are running on what “appears” to be “flat ground”. Trust me – that is not flat ground – those are climbs.

All in all, a great day out on the ‘cross bike. I started with the Dugast Pipistrellos – these aren’t bad but I need a bit more traction. So I switched to the Dugast Rhinos with super low pressure – seemed better. But the course will change a lot between now and Sunday – it is supposed to warm-up so that could turn some of the ice into slush. We’ll see on Sunday.

Many many thanks to Marc. He was awesome today. He rode with me and gave lots of amazing advice and extra confidence. He calmed me down when my nerves were getting a bit rattled. Shouted encouragement and reminded me to keep on pedaling. I even heard a few “that’s it!” and “good job”.

Huge thanks to Alex Sanna of Soigneur Race Services for his outstanding support today. He was in the pits, making sure everything was okay. Also thanks to Matthew Knight from the CCA for standing out there in the pits, ready with a pump and for taking some photos of us all pre-riding. Standing in the pits and being ready as soon as a rider comes in with a problem, is a pretty thankless role and one that is often not appreciated enough. So many thanks to Alex and Matt for standing out there for us this afternoon.

Also thanks to Marc and Alex for taking care of the bikes. I don’t have to do a thing. Marc and Alex are cleaning all of the Team Canada bikes, making sure the bikes are running correctly, and are pretty much available at all times to help us out with technical and mechanical questions.

Really is feeling like a team atmosphere here. Nice. It helps to be surrounded with so many friendly people. I think it helps us racers relax a bit, knowing that all we need to do is pedal our bikes. So many thanks to Marc, Alex, and Matt.

Heading out on the course again tomorrow. Tomorrow the goal of the training will be to break down the key sections of the course and run through them as many times as it takes for me to dial them in and feel confident and fast on them. Probably will try a bunch of different tires and pressure as well.

I’ve got to say it was super awesome to be out there with my Team Canada jacket on. It definitely turned a lot of heads. Nothing quite like the feeling of riding with the maple leaf on your back. Definitely makes the pedals turn a bit more easily.

Alright, it is time for supper. I’ll check in with you tomorrow. Feeling it right now. Loving it. Everything was worth it to get to this point. I just can’t believe it! Today I warmed up on the race course for the Cyclo-Cross World Championships! Amazing!


Almost Go Time

Dudes, it is almost time. Almost go time. I couldn’t be more stoked. I’m feeling good. I just want to get out there and race. Soak it all up. Have fun. Smile. Pedal hard and savor racing in the Cyclo-Cross World Championships.

Pretty quiet day here. Especially since we didn’t have Internet access all afternoon and evening… Ah well, I relaxed with my book and magazines.

Frosty out there again so I hopped on the trainer for a 75 minute spin. I watched the women’s World Championships race from a few years ago. Amazing how much can change in a couple of laps. Hanka went from leading the race (and I what I thought was a sure win) to not being on the podium. Bummer for her. But good for the others. See cyclo-cross racing really is just like life!

Many many thanks for the emails and supportive comments from my last post. Your words have truly overwhelmed me. Thanks so much!

In a few hours we are off to the race course to check it out. It is snowy. It is icy. It is slick. There are some steep ups. Some very fast downs. Some tricky corners. But I’m ready for it. It is the same race course for everyone. Marc is going to come out with me and help me dissect the course. He is also going to lead me through some hot laps. If I can stay on Marc’s wheel, I’ll be super happy!

Tomorrow will be more of the same with more time spent practicing specific sections of the course. The key is not to do too much leading up to the race but to also spend enough time and effort to get the body ready for the race effort.

Funny, we were watching the movie Up this morning and I really felt Carl’s spirit as I was sitting here. Don’t know if you’ve watched this movie but it really is an inspiring and beautiful film. Lets just say I feel like I’m in my very own Paradise Falls right now and I’ve definitely got the spirit of adventure.