It was a trying summer for former US Mountain Bike National Champion Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven/NoTubes), who was diagnosed with Lyme disease this summer. Thanks to a course of medical treatment, the American is back racing again and looking forward to the elite women's cross country world championship race on Saturday in Champery, Switzerland. Cyclingnews caught up with McConneloug and her husband at their RV parked conveniently in the center of the race course.
"It's been a challenging past couple of months," said McConneloug. "I was feeling bad physically and didn't know what was going on even as I was racing World Cups. I found out I did have Lyme disease and then had to take six weeks of antibitotics."
The illness caused her to cancel her plans to race the US Mountain Bike National Championships and the US Pro XCT finals, but she was determined to keep a good outlook.
"It gave me time to wonder where my place in this racing world was," she said. "I knew I had to accept the situation and do the best I could to look forward positively toward my recovery."
"So far I'm feeling great. I just finished the antibiotics last week."
Along with the battle has come a greater perspective. "I'm excited to be here with a new appreciation for being able to be here and race my bike in Europe. I'm cherishing every moment of this amazing lifestyle."
"We're lucky to be able to do this," chimed in Broderick, who also shared his opinion of the Worlds course.
"The course is great. It's one of the best courses we've seen in the last year. It should be good for spectators too because it winds back on itself," he said. "It's technically challenging with roots and rocks. There are not a lot of standing climbs. They are punchy."
"They've widened the course this year to make for better passing and I think there are some features that will challenge athletes' skills. I think some people will take the B line out of safety concerns."
Both American racers were asked what would make Saturday's Worlds race a success.
"For me, it's about having no regrets when you're done," said Broderick. "I don't want to put any numbers on it. Everyone will be here with their A games. We're here to represent our country and our sponsors and ride proud."
"A successful race is when you go into it with a good feeling, give it 100 percent and come out of it without any injuries," said McConneloug. "It's taking the opportunity to read the race every moment and make the moves to give what you have. If I could finish in the top 10 or 15, I'd be very happy."
Read a recent blog from Mike & Mary.