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.