July 16, 2007
Well I certainly have done a variety of racing since my last report; this included another European World Cup, some road bike meets, a NORBA, and a couple more World Cups in the nation of Quebec.
This last stint began over in Germany with round two of my nemesis, the European World Cup. Regrettably I can say I definitely lost the match. I had a sweet in-and-out operation going, was feeling great too; but then it all went pear shaped a few hours before the race. The sky clouded up and wept torrentially, and in turn I didn't manage the conditions very well. I tasted the dirt a few too many times and in the end was forced to limp in for a mediocre finish. Offenburg was a great course and venue though; they did a lot of work and even had bleachers and a beer garden set up in the middle of woods.
I came back to North America a little beat down, but happy to have a break from racing. I had time to hang out with my wife Miss Pink as well as our farm of dogs and cats. I decided to skip the third World Cup in Europe to make sure I stayed healthy and mentally fresh for some big races to come. This included weeding the back yard, putting some miles in the bank, and scouting possible locations for family relocation.
I wasn't interested in a third trip to Europe before summer hit and instead I ended up getting to do one of the coolest road races in the U.S. of A. For those of you who don't know, I am a member of the powerful Symmetrics road squad, but haven't attended every race.
I was not planning on heading to Philadelphia but unfortunately, one of my best mates (and best man), Pinner, went out with a back problem just beforehand. I got the last-minute phone call and a couple hours later was on a plane to fill in for him. This year Philly was an intense bike match and we raced at a very impressive speed for more than 250km. It was a bit like a six hour motorpace with a few hill climb intervals thrown in. The team was riding strong and got in some key moves but nothing was sticking; I ended up rolling in a little behind the front guys.
After Philly, the NORBA season picked up again for round #4: Deer Valley, Utah. It is one of the nicest venues we get to hang out at all year; swanky home rentals, great restaurants, and Keri came up to hang out which made it nice.
Our matchmaker and Smith Optics main man Greg "Chopper" Randolph, aka "Big Dumb Muscle", came out of retirement and did an impressive ride, taking it to over half the pro men's field. Also in the 'full time working man' category, Eric 'Caveman' Tonkin demoralized a lot of guys with his hairy legs and a career sixth place ride. I managed to stay ahead of these guys but not ahead of JHK, who took his first win of the year. It was a tough race but I bounced back on day two; I pulled on some new pink Dopers Suck socks and they seemed to do the trick as I was able to attack early and take the STXC solo.
After that it was off to the 'Great White North' for the first time in several months; it was nice to be back in the homeland and racing a World Cup in the always enthusiastic Mont-Ste-Anne. There is no other venue like it, and even though I am not a Quebec national, they still cheer for me like crazy; probably because I am wearing a Maple Leaf kit just like the Queen of Mont-Ste-Anne, Marie-Helen Premont. My legs felt almost as incredible as level of the crowd's roar, and I felt like I could keep it wide open all day. It was very exciting to ride all the way into 3rd place in one of the most competitive North American World Cups in recent memory.
The next challenge after Mt. St. Anne was figuring out how to waste time for a whole week before the next round, which was even farther north in St. Felicien. Even my Quebecois teammate Toulouse hadn't been that far up the continent. There wasn't much going on in St. Felicien but the excellent course made the drive worth our while. Unfortunately I couldn't quite find my rhythm on a course I liked; I managed a 20th but not quite what I was looking for.
After the mid-season hump I was looking forward to getting back to Victoria, the summer months in Canada, and my favourite coffee shop: Discovery Coffee. Keri turned us on to this great website, so if you are ever on the road in North America and searching for something tasty, take a look at www.espressomap.com; it is an invaluable resource for the coffee snob/geek.
Coming up this month I have the road bike nationals, MTB nationals, and then back to the U.S. of A. for the NORBA series.
Over and out,