Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fort William World Cup

Saturday I was in sunny Scotland getting a tan racing the Fort William Mountain Bike World Cup and Sunday I was in Vancouver freezing my butt off watching the Triathlon World Championships. Crazy time travel.

I will back up....Sandra and her mom and I left our relaxing little resort on the coast of Spain Wed afternoon to head to Scotland. We were sad to go but it was probably best as the buffet was going to catch up with us sooner or later. My belly has been out of practice this year since I am no longer eating roast lamb lunches and cheesecake for lunch at Malaspina. Ryanair was a little sticky with my excess baggage but we shuffled it around and voila - nothing was overweight. The check in gal couldn't quite get her head around it either but she let us through.

We arrived in Scotland at 7pm and picked up some Scottish pounds (2.2 exchange rate - ouch!)and the rental car. Sandra was the lucky winner for driving on the left hand side but after hopping a few curbs and missing a few left hand shifts she started to feel a bit more comfortable. I was the navigator and the second brain "stay left...stay left..LEEFFT!"Google maps had suggested a 3hr drive but we hit a detour and ended up arriving after 1am. The crazy twisty, narrow roads were a bit terrifying, especially when you started to focus in on the deer munching in the gutter or the sheep sleeping in the small gap between the road and rock walls. But the second brain was vigilant. "sheep...sheep..SHEEP!"

We went to put our bikes together the next morning and got eaten ALIVE by the midges. I had HUGE hair from swatting at them biting me up around my hairline. I hear big hair is in. When we prerode the course it was kind of freaky looking at volunteers with screen faces to keep the midges out. I am sure they would have gone mental without it. I have a couple seasons of tree planting experience and I know that biting insects can drive you to a. drink or b. kill. I guess it just depends on your personality which direction you sway.

Sandra's mom did a solo summit of Ben Nevis in less than 3 hours, without oxygen, and in flip flops. Ok she had hiking boots on and there were 100's of other tourists but she looked like she was out for a stroll in the park compared to the HUGE packs some of the people were carrying when we dropped her off at the trail head. She just got back from hiking in Patagonia so I think she was a bit disappointed in teh difficulty level....

The race course was super fun. Completely different than 2 years ago when I had one of my best World Cup finishes. It wasn't as technical but it had great flow. It was basically one huge climb, one super long downhill and then a flat double track bringing you back to the start area. Repeat. The talk of the town was the hot sunny weather we were having. The course was built for rain and lots of it so the hot, dry, dusty conditions were unexpected.

Race day: I had a great start and was climbing pretty well in the top 15. I fell behind a bit on the climb every lap but would usually catch them on the twisty downhill. Unfortunately this meant I was at the back of the pack for the flat doubletrack section so I was yo-yoing after every corner. I was feeling pretty good though for the first few laps and then I started to fade. I am starting to realize that my 7 weeks base training after CX worlds just wasnt enough for the world cup mountainbike circuit this year. I could fake it for about an hour and a half but then I would be exposed for what I really am: a 45min CX racer that prefers short punchy climbs to long mountain passes. I slipped backwards the last two laps to end up 29th. But I felt like I was actually racing in the first 3 laps, so I took it for what it was: another step at bring back my MTB endurance. I should be flying by August....

No time to watch the mens race this week as I had to pack up my stuff and catch a train by 6pm. A 3hr train ride was an amazing way to see Scotland. I saw lots of sheep, wooly cows, wild purple rhododendrons, Scottish broom, a few rabbits and lots of lush green grass. They couldn't fool me with their hot sunny weather. I knew it rained a lot here.

Sunday 6am I was on a flight back to Canada (first class wahoo!). Norm picked me up in Vancouver at noon and whisked me off to see the World Triathlon Championships. Team Canada was hoping for some medals. I was listening to all of the politics associated with that sport as the Olympic team would be decided immediately after the race and announced that night. Rumour had it one of the athletes had a lawyer waiting....

I was pretty fuzzy from jetlag and I don't think the 2 cupcakes helped but I was happy to be home. Now I am trying to get some miles in so I am ready for BC Bike Race. Home court advantage. Bring it on.

No comments: