Plzen World Cup Pre-Ride

The day before a World Cup is a strange one. The goal is to get out and get a feel for the course but not to do too much on the course. It is different for each athlete – some don’t like to ride the course the day before, some like to do multiple laps, others only do one or two laps – breaking down the key sections, and others do a mixture of a ride.

In previous years and particularly last year, I spent too much time riding the course. I rode it on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. This resulted in my getting extremely anxious and nervous before the race. I also felt that I knew the course really well and that I would have an amazing race. I guess this is called false confidence… Anyway, this year I resolved to do things differently. As tempting as it was to do ride the course yesterday with Nikoline, I stuck to my plan – an hour and a bit of easy road riding.

Today when I arrived at the course I had a plan and once again I was able to stick to it. It can be tempting to ride with others and to ride at their pace. Well, I rode with Gabby for a bit and Nikoline for a bit but mostly I did my own thing. Today I did two laps easy – looking at the corners, checking out the lines, practicing the steep set of climbs and looking at the lines on the wooded and shaded descent. Then I did one lap harder (not full out) just big ring riding carrying speed into and out of the corners, accelerating where I knew I would be during the race and paying attention to the gearing I would need for the race. This helped me learn a few things: remember to shift into an easy gear before the barriers – there is a subtle false flat there on soft grass that is more taxing than I realized, remember to shift into the small ring before the stair run-up – because there is a steep climb to tackle immediately after the run-up, carry lots of speed into the other sequence of climbs and stay left – this lets me attack the last steep short pitch on a diagonal – oh and dabbing is okay – lots are doing it – but I can do it without dabbing as well. After this lap I did one more easy lap – again to look at lines and to practice things one more time. After all of this I hopped on the trainer for an easy spin out of my legs and to eat some lunch.

Normally I have to hang around for the number pick-up and the manager’s meeting but this year I have Ignace here so he is doing all of this for me. What a change of pace. I also don’t need to worry about cleaning my bikes and changing around tires – again Ignace is doing all this. I feel so lucky to have his help right now. I can really just relax and chill out and not sweat the details.

It was great to see everyone today – seems like forever since I’ve seen all of my racing friends. Everyone wanted to know how my dad was doing and also where he was…. Many thanks to Christine for the massive jar of specculous and speculous cookies – I know my parents will appreciate them. (I’m keeping the pistachio chocolate bar for myself!)

The weather here is fantastic – it is around 16 celsius with a brilliant blue sky and a bright sun – perfect racing weather. We race at 1:30 tomorrow afternoon. After our race it will be nice to chill out and watch the elite men race. I’ll do my best to take some photos for you.

Alright, I’m going to sign off now and relax with my new book: In The Kitchen by Monica Ali. Best of luck to those of you racing in Cobden as part of the Eastern Ontario Series and in Grangogue. (Oh, I heard from Bob – there were 37 women racing in Renfrew last Sunday – this is fantastic!)

And remember, if you see Marc at the race – give him a hug and a kiss for me… Couldn’t do this without his amazing support.