By Steve Medcroft
Despite a number of mechanical difficulties disrupting the performances of male American riders at Worlds (a broken chain for JHK, seat problems for Adam Craig and a DNF after a crash for U.S. National Champ Ryan Trebon), the American cross-country program scored a success when rising NORBA star Jeremiah Bishop gave the U.S. its strongest world championship showing in recent years with an 8th place, the first time a US rider has made the top 10 since 1995.
After a poor starting position putting him at the back of the grid, he "treated the first two laps like a short track to get up there. It was important to get to the front as quickly as possible. Once I got up to Frischy, I tried to do what I could to help him beat Meirhaeghe."
Bishop says that the result is due to a change in attitude towards the opportunity that racing offers him that came about after a back injury in 2005 (Bishop fractured the bony spines on the outside of his three lowermost vertebrae one year ago this week). "It was a reality check," he says about the injury. "It made my realize how lucky I am to not just be walking, but doing what I do for a living."
Bishop says that realization was motivation to train harder and focus on building his race resume. "Since then, I believe in myself more and I've been trying to prove that I am among the best. I think people are taking notice that I can do it."
Bishop plans to carry his success into the 2007 season. "My focus is on the Olympics, on racing at a top international level," he says. "With the importance of international racing and the points criteria, I will do a full World Cup slate next year."