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!
WE DID IT! THANK-YOU!