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Sunday, May 20, 2012

World Cup La Bresse, France

After last weeks good performance at the Czech World Cup I was very motivated to go better and break into the top 10 at this weekend’s fourth round in France.

We were treated to a tough course which was almost one main climb and descent. The climb was steep with a lot of elevation gained in a short time. A short descent offered a bit of respite before a final push to the top of the hill and then a nice long almost continuous downhill back to the bottom. A few rocky sections spiced things up and with rain forecasted for the weekend it had the potential to be a bit of a mud bath. Fortunately the weather turned it on for us for a change with sunshine and the track conditions were almost perfect.

A good start was crucial with limited passing around the course and everyone knew it, so it was pretty frantic early on with a couple of bad crashes around the start loop. I came through back a little bit further behind then I wanted but was able to move up well as we headed out onto the first full lap making it up into the top 25 fairly easily. I was feeling great and with the leaders still in sight I was in a good position to kick on. Into the first downhill and one corner in I heard an ominous hissing sound. Trying to kid myself that it was someone else’s tyre losing air I carried on for a bit but was soon forced to admit my problem.

It was pretty gut wrenching having the whole field stream by as I ran to the first tech zone and with the puncture coming so soon after the start with the field still quite close together I was soon back in last position. My spare wheels were at the bottom of the hill in the second tech zone but thankfully I was able to get going again with a Shimano neutral service wheel.

So I set off with a very big task to get back up for a decent result with 90 riders ahead of me. It took a lap to get going again with my legs seizing up a bit after the run and stop but I soon started to move up and it was good to see my position improve each lap as I crossed the line. It wasn’t easy to pass a lot of the time especially on the main climb, so I had a few hold ups along the way. I eventually made it back into the top 40 on the penultimate lap and headed out for the final effort with plenty of riders in sight to chase down. I climbed well picking people off and managed to sneak past a couple more early on down the last descent. With the finish almost in sight I couldn’t believe it when the Shimano wheel went flat as well!  I tried nursing it in but it wasn’t going to work and I didn’t want to wreck it especially as it wasn’t my wheel. So I had to run again watching my hard earned work unravel with the riders I had just passed sprinting round and heading for the finish line. I made it to the last straight and with another rider coming I jumped back on in attempt to hold him off. It was super close but he just got it and I had to settle for 38th place.

Not really how I wanted this one to pan out but that’s racing. I have another four weeks left before I head home with two more races remaining. I do get a break next week which will be nice after the five consecutive races weekends but I am very motivated to finish off strong and am looking forward to the next one at the Swiss Bike Trophy in Bern.

Thanks to Aroha and Allan for the feed/tech zone duties and Mils for the photos.

1 comment:

  1. Bad luck Dirk. As long as your processes after the puncture were sound you did all you could to make the best out of some bad luck and should have learned something from the situation. Stay positive and look forward to the next race.
    Andy Patterson