By Gregor Brown in Treviso
Canadian Wendy Simms' hard preparation for the World Championships paid dividends with a seventh place result on Sunday in Italy, up five spots from here finish three years ago in St. Wendel, Germany. The three-time Canadian Cyclo-cross champion arrived in Europe on December 18, and felt that all her training and racing to prepare for the day's event in Treviso was worthwhile.
The 35 year-old started the race strong and then managed her resources. "I had a good start, I was in the lead for a bit," commented Simms from Treviso, where the snowcapped Alps provided a majestic backdrop to the day's racing.
"You fade and it always feels like crap," she continued. At one point Simms looked in contention for a podium spot. "Of course I am disappointed, but those are pretty lofty goals with everyone running so strong," she noted on the medal hunt. "I went for it, but I could not stick with Hanka [Kupfernagel] and the rest so I had to let off and recuperate before coming back strong. ... I was there in the front, I put the hammer down and tried, but I was not strong enough to hold it.
Simms was pleased with the progress she's made this season. "It is a big jump from the last couple of years. Seventh definitely makes me happy. It is better than all my others."
The French team put in a particularly good performance, Simms said, taking third through fifth places, and made the racing hard. "The French were so strong in the long mud sections. I would try to ride steady and they would just attack. There were just like two or three of them – one after another. I was fading a bit on the hills but then I would do really well on the mud sections, where I kept it steady. It was really on this side [right after the start finish] where I had to work harder."
Simms will return to Vancouver Island for a slight vacation before starting the mountain bike season. "I get a bit of a break and then I roll right onto mountain bike. I will eat lots a junk, go skiing and snow boarding – playing at home – then get back on the mountain bike."
For more on Simms read Gaining experience on European ground.