Worlds, Pt. 1
Clara chimes in with an update from Europe, after racing the penultimate ‘18-’19 World Cup stop in Pont-Château, France. She’s currently in the Netherlands with USA Cycling for her last racing block. Tomorrow she races the final World Cup of the series in Hoogerheide, with 2019 World Championships just one week away! Read on.
I landed in Brussels over a week ago now. The flight over was my first in nearly a month and the Pontchâteau World Cup was my first real race since Nationals. The pause in racing was a pleasant intermission in a long season: I visited family in Southern Oregon over Christmas, played bikes with the Kona folks up in Bellingham, and even got some friends to do a simulation CX race next to the wastewater treatment plant down in Oregon City (it was great!). But now the show is back in action and the racing is full force as we finish the final act of this season!
For this last block, I’ve been working with USA Cycling at their home base and service course in Sittard, NL. The other weekend, myself, a handful of development riders, and a whole team of mechanics and support made the trip down to France to race the Pont-Château World Cup. When we arrived, we found a dry and blistering fast course. The race was like a criterium, with packs of riders fighting for the line into a million sharp corners and masticating themselves up the sharp ascents. Within the race, it was a trade of attacks for position and we bargained with how much our fitness could possibly give. At two laps in, I looked up from our pace line and saw that we still had five more laps to go. I could hardly that I could be so redlined less than a third of the way through the race. The final time up the climb, I found it in me to punch through and take up three spots, finishing 23rd overall and 6th U23. It is a result I am content with, especially after such exhausting travel and jet lag. However, my greatest conclusions from the weekend was that the only thing you can consistently expect of the French is for perfectly crisp, yet greatly under-salted bread.
Back in Sittard, we were greeted with frigid temperatures and an apparently rare coating of snow. For training, the frozen trails have actually proven great practice leading up to Worlds in Denmark. We have been fiddling with shoes, tires, and, most importantly, technique to prepare for the icy jetty of Bogense in less than two weeks. But first, we will tackle the World Cup final in Hoogerheide this coming weekend. Temperatures are expected to rise and precipitation is almost guaranteed, so we know the racing will certainly be hot!