The post-race chatter about it effectively being the end of the international elite mountain bike season was flying fast and furiously after the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Champery, Switzerland, this weekend. For most of the best mountain bikers who race the World Cup and Worlds, all of 2011's major races are done and only some smaller, national or regional events remain on their calendars.
But for riders like US National Cross Country Mountain Bike and Cyclo-Cross champion Todd Wells, it's time to switch disciplines and gear up for 'cross.
"It's funny how everyone is talking about how great it is to be done with this season," said Wells, "but for me I go straight into cyclo-cross and I don't get a break until October."
Wells logged a career best performance at mountain bike Worlds with a seventh place finish.
"It feels good, he said. "It's always nice to improve." He had been aiming for a top five to make an automatic qualification for the US 2012 Olympic team, but came up just a bit short.
Speaking of his mountain bike Worlds race, he said, "I had a poor start, but I gained time in the flat sections and I'd hang on during the climbs. After it started to rain, I got a groove going," he said.
"I generally die near the end of the race, but I kept moving up at the end, and that was a big boost for me. I was surprisingly good on the climb, too."