Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Nationals weekend Kamloops, BC Oct 20,21

BC Provincial Champion and Canadian National Champion - yeah, I guess you could say it was a good weekend. Basically everything went perfectly. We headed up to Kamloops on Friday to check out the course we would be racing both days. I have to admit I was a little worried because the organizers had never put on a cyclocross race before, but it only took one lap pre-riding to see it was going to be a fun, challenging cross course. It had lots of twists and turns, a few transitions off the bike, fast open sections, and a couple of sand pits. It was actually quite a scenic venue in Riverside Park with the sunny weather and the fall leaves turned orange and yellow down by the Thompson River. There was no sign of the snow they had originally forecasted, so it was going to be a fast course that required you to be smooth in your transitions and corners. A perfect course for me and my Queen Ann!

Saturday a lot of people chose not to race BC provincials so it looked pretty weak with only 8 girls on the start line. But Lyne Bessette (Cyclocrossworld.com) was there so we took the opportunity to check out the course at speed, test equipment (my FSA Kforce wheels rocked!), and see how each other fared on the different features of the course. We stayed together the entire race, with a few attacks to see how each other could respond in different sections. The finish stretch was quite short and came up on you immediately after a tricky 180 degree asphalt corner so I attacked one corner earlier and kept my lead to take the BC Provincial Champion title. I don’t know when I consciously decided to attack but I had left it really, really, really late and I had no other option. Not known for my tactics (I have often been laughed at for my stupid, stubborn decisions in races), I was pretty proud of myself. But, most importantly I got a big shot of confidence. Although the score over the past few years was now something like Wendy: 2, Lyne: 184, I started to really believe I could take Nationals. A little wee part of me thought “but won’t Mark Peterson be pissed if you win Nationals because you just got your new Kona – Yourkey kit and he will have to make up new ones?” But I stuffed wee Mark Peterson in pocket and figured we could deal with it when/if the time comes.

Saturday night, while digesting my chicken and pasta dinner (yes, ever so tasty, high glycemic index, white pasta!!). I walked myself through the course. After racing Lyne, I knew where I was stronger, but tomorrow Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain) would be racing. She was the mystery meat. Although she hasn’t raced a lot of cyclocross, she is a skilled technical rider (they don’t just hand out those mountain bike World Championship titles) so I couldn’t just plan to get away from her on the corners and sand (assuming I could shake Lyne). Alison is also a wiley cat with lots of road smarts and strength, so we couldn’t let her use us and then spit us out on the last lap to take the win with her powerful sprint. So I tucked a few options away and went to sleep. Sunday morning Norm won his race and kept the National Championship jersey for his third year. I wanted to match him. Three for three.

Off the line it was Lyne, myself and Alison away immediately. The first few laps Lyne and I could get a small gap on Alison through the sand run, but she came back ever so quickly. Quicker and quicker each time actually. She was processing and learning from us each lap - it was like she was a cyborg. Lyne was setting the pace and seemed content so we settled in. With two laps to go my stupid non tactical brain remembered an interview with Sven Nys who said he always attacks with 2 laps to go and always wins. I considered going for it but then a voice of reason (Nicola Mann actually) called out from the pits – “be patient Wendy!” – and I snapped back. It was like she knew what I was thinking! Probably another cyborg. So I stayed in my comfortable 2 spot and decided where I would attack on the last lap. Ideally I wanted to be in the lead into the sand run but Lyne countered me with serious aggression so I backed off. But ten seconds later I attacked again out of the sand run and got by her. I don’t think she or Alison expected it so I got a small gap into the twisty sections. I was running scared. I knew they were right behind me so I attacked into every straightaway where they could potentially pass me. I managed to hold a very, very small lead into the last few corners and pulled out my third (but sweetest) National Championship win! So the score is now Wendy 3: Lyne 184. Not too shabby.

PS sorry Mark! I guess I need some new kits made up……

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