Wednesday, January 2, 2008


My sister Heather is always trying to stay updated on my life when we get a chance to connect. Her questions usually include: where in the world are you? is it cyclocross or mountain bike season? and how is the racing going? She has made a wierd observation about me. Apparently when I am recounting good results I yawn, presumably to downplay them so I don't appear to be cocky  ?? Who knows, but I had no idea that I did that until she mentioned it (laughing hysterically) and she has busted me many times since she made the original discovery....I haven't heard from Heather yet so I figured I would give give her the latest scoops.  

After a yummy New Years eve dinner with Ann and Bernard (and some extended fireworks thanks to the neighbors) we got up bright and early (but not chipper) to welcome 2008 with, what-else, a CYCLOCROSS race. I took my good luck gimp (Barb) and my catch all (Bernard) and we drove to Petange LUXEMBOURG to a race that has been running since 1948. I think the entire town sponsored the event because they had a nice glossy book filled with sponsor ads that had absolutely no information on where the race was. They also offered me and the gimp (if she wasn't so gimped out) 150 euros start money! Most of that ticked away with the kms we covered to get there but it still makes you feel like a bit of a rockstar to be paid to show up. With everyone hung over and off the roads we made it there with 3 hours to spare.  Well, apparently the Luxembourgonians (??) are a little more lax than Belgian cross promoters because the place was deserted. We waited in the parking lot until registration opened an hour later. 

The course was not your traditional cyclocross loop - straight up a paved hill through town, run up some stairs, plough through a cowfield, straight up another road,  power through the muddy woods, keep going up in the woods, then slip n' slide down the muddy trails, plough through another cowfield. Repeat. Considering most of our races this year have been flat, it was a pretty tough course with all the climbing. Not a lot of girls showed up for this event, as all of their National championships are this weekend, but the World Champion Maryline Salvetat (France) was on the start list along with a few Americanos and even Japan.

Because the course was straight uphill, we had to turn around and park on the side of a narrow, euro  steep road. The kind that would never meet code in Canada. Unfortunately the turning radius of the big gray van was not great and one of the wheels made its way onto the nice green grass with slippery mud below. Uh oh. The wheels started spinning and Bernard tried everything but the situation just kept getting worse and worse until we were in the middle of the soft grass field. Luckily, the Goddart's offered up a tractor after the event so we just had to leave it and focus on the race.

So basically, I (yawn) got my first european podium in Luxembourg. With (yawn) the current World Champion. Sooooo 2007, don't you think? Pip. Pip.  Salvetat took off the front and I tried to stay with her but she dropped me on the first climb. But then I (yawn) caught back up to her on the descent with my mad MTB skillz. Buuuut then she dropped me again on the hill. I settled into my own pace after that and took home second while Sue Butler (River City) pulled in for third. Sue and I we were both pretty excited to get our podium photos taken with the world champion but our personal photographer (yeah Emily that is you) wasn't pushy enough and got crappy photos so now I am begging the organizers to send me one. 

While we were freezing our butts off watching the tractor pull our van out of the mud pit, I busted out some rusty, choppy French to convince the concession stand to give us some gluwine - a hot red wine mixed with rum and spices. YUM. I highly recommend it. It even warmed the gimps exposed toes right up. She was even more exhausted than I was after using her gimp stix to hop 600m uphill from the start line to the finish line.  

Now we are packing up the gimp's things as she flies out tomorrow. We stuffed about 85lbs of gear in her bike bag, hoping the airline would feel sorry for her and not dare question the weight of her bags as she is wheeled to the check in counter. Then we bought about 20lbs of chocolate for her to bring home to  friends. 

I will miss the sound of her hop-along steps in the halls after she is gone.....


Nathan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nathan said...

Way to go!!!!!! I wish that the promoters had posted the results on cyclingnews; chumps!!! Crush those Euro wankers!

Wendy Simms said...

Hi Nathan!

Women's results don't seem to be as important here.....figure that out.

Did you Kringle Cross??


erikv said...

(yawn) nice job!

The gimp jokes were cracking me up. Way to send her to the wolves with a grossly overweight bag in the airport.

Airline worker: Uh, miss, this bag is much to heavy.


Airline worker: tooo heaveeeey


Airline worker: uh...enjoy your flight.

Wendy Simms said...

I am sure Barb will pull out the dumb gimp look and be on her way....

she perfected it when people tried to talk to her in Flemish


Josh and Barb said...

Wendy, I miss you. The gimp made it home. The airlines took pity on the gimp. The gimp rode around in a wheelchair in three different airports in one day.


Nathan said...

Kringle Kross was fun. It had a spiral of death that was fun. Norm came down and played with us and we chatted a bit afterwards. Didn't recognize him at first since he wasn't wearing the Maple Leaf kit. I made sure that I gave him plenty of press while I was calling his race and through your name into the mix regarding your Euro tour. It was a good day. Keep on crushing!