Belgium, May 16, 2006
My last significant stretch of time off for the rest of the summer is over, an incredible three weekends in a row, and now I'm back up and at 'er racing again. After being sick and dizzy with the ol' ear infection for a month I have never been so glad to have a break. Got back to the homeland for about ten days to make sure things were still standing; went to get my townie to ride into downtown for breakfast and found it stolen....bummer, did my taxes...arrrrgh, got on the scale...ouch, turned 29...yikes, got a cake and a visit from my parents...sweet, got a bunch of money back from my taxes....nice, got to ride my 5spot a bunch on the Victoria trails...sweet as, started to feel fit again...alright.
So things were starting to come around and I headed back to the US; I avoided border patrol once again on my way to Colorado Springs to meet Keri and my new girlfriend Tallulah (a little Weimaraner pup).
She's a little sweetheart and hopefully she has learned to pee and poo outside by the time I get back. Got to spend a couple weeks in Albuquerque where the weather was absolutely perfect for bike practice. This is where I started to really feel like I could push the pedals again; at least that's what I thought as I pedalled up to the 10,600ft Sandia Peak in shorts and jersey listening to AC/DC. The only bad story from Albuquerque is when I slipped and fell carrying Tallulah's poo and broke one of our hardwood stairs; I cussed a few times after that. Oh yeah, and the fact someone tried to rip off our bank account with fake cheques; good ol' Albuquerque.
So after leaving the ghetto in Albuquerque I headed to the ghetto in Fontana for NORBA #1; you know it is the ghetto when the hotel has bullet proof glass at check-in. The course was pretty good considering we were in the LA valley and the smog wasn't even that bad. The kids shooting paintballs at us in the race wasn't so sweet, nor was racing at the same time as multiple other categories on a dusty singletrack course. The XC race was actually pretty exciting and it was going to come down to a pretty intense finish between JHK, Wells and myself. Unfortunately it was a pretty anticlimatic finish when JHK and Wells went down in a ball with about two or three minutes to go and left me to roll in to the sprint finish all by myself. Well, I actually ran into Shonny a couple hundred metres before the finish line so it was kind of neat to have the men's and women's winners come across the line together.
I wasn't going to complain about the win and luckily the boys were mostly okay and showed up to race again on day two STXC action. It turned into another tactical affair and everything came down to the last lap and a half where I got things right and ended up on the front end again; nice way to start off my defense of the NORBA series. Toulouse recovered from food poisoning to make it in for 13th in the STXC after pulling the plug in the XC. Kirkcaldie had a good 4X for second but had a miscommunication/confrontation with the marshals which led to a very frustrating DQ in the ol' DH. The Team Maxxis trailer is nicely kitted out now with mini-fridge, all important espresso machine, and a nice little BBQ that we fired up after the race for a euro packing/trailer breakdown party.
The euro packing was for the three-week/three-world cup trip which started out in the infamous Casa de Campo in downtown Madrid. Because of my lacklustre spring campaign I was starting out in 89th place which was pretty bad - but could've been worse, like the poor souls back in the 200's; that's right, over 200 starters! I have seen chaotic starts but this one was absolute pandemonium; as soon as we hit the first singletrack all hell broke loose. There were huge roaming packs of riders running through the tape; bowling over spectators, and cutting out hundreds of metres of the course; I just about broke even and came out of the first lap in about 75th. I actually felt decent and did my best to try to move up and bank some points in hope of a better start position next week in Spa - 37th is where I managed to crawl up to. I might actually be able to see the guys on the front row next weekend.
Next weekend is Spa, Belgium, where the weather looks like it could turn a little nasty; I will like that for racing but not so much for training. I'm not feeling too bad after the race and not getting sick in Europe...so far, so good. We'll see if we can turn it up a notch next weekend.
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Popular Canadian mountain bike racer Geoff Kabush races for Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain. He's a regular on the mountain bike World Cup circuit and at Canadian and US national series races. You'll also see him in some occasional mountain bike stage races during the season and on the cyclo-cross circuit in the fall.