Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Roubaix mud. photo by Mitch Clinton www.clintonphoto.com

Roubaix World Cup
Everyone was pretty excited to be racing at the legendary Roubaix velodrome. Finish of the Paris-Roubaix classic. I think we all felt the history of the place when we arrived. You could almost feel the pain. No cobbles on our cyclocross course but they managed to piece together a really fun loop in a small space in the middle of the city. No features mattered except the BIG DESCENT. It was the talk of the day: did you ride the BIG DESCENT? what do you think about the BIG DESCENT? We (when I say "we" I mean NORM IS HERE!!!!) prerode before the masses so I managed to ride the BIG DESCENT no problem. I am not going to lie, it was sketchy - super steep with big ruts at the bottom - but it was a straight shot with a run out at the bottom and I am a mountain biker so I rode it out of principle. When I left the venue I saw about 12 pro men at the top of the BIG DESCENT looking down and not a sole rode down it for the 5-10mins I watched. At the managers meeting Saturday night they announced that the BIG DESCENT would be removed for the womens and juniors races. WHAT?! Pretty cheezy move as we are trying to prove that elite women should get more respect and then they anounce its unsafe for the women but OK for the men to ride. Apparently Katie Compton was livid. In the end it rained all night and the BIG DESCENT was 10X worse on race day so prooooooobably should have been removed for everyone. Maybe after a U23 guy in the lead group busted his fork and just about killed himself? hmmmm? What about after witnessing 98% of the top pro men in the WORLD running down it? 

In Europe I have realized they do things a bit differently here and for the most part I have adapted. But one of the things I cannot get used to is the !%$#'n FALSE STARTS that they let slide. Today was no exception. Hanka Kupfernagel was probably 3 bike lengths ahead of me by the time I got off the line. I just saw a white streak to my right and unfortunately my left side of the grid was screwed as a result. So I ended up into the mud 15-20th. Nooot a great start to the day but I was not the only one to get screwed by a world champion's itchy trigger finger. Surprisingly there were a couple of front row girls back there with me. I had a good first half of the race and managed to pick people off and move into the top 10. It was slow going but I was riding pretty smooth and steady. Until the second half of the race where my legs just didnt have as much power to donate to the cause. Still smooth, still steady, just not as powerful. I did a bike change and came out of the pit behind a group of 5 girls instead of ahead. A couple small errors and they got a gap and I was struggling to try to catch back on. Which I never did so my top 10 went to a 15th. 

Covered in mud and freezing my butt off, I was called for doping control AGAIN!? I thought I could just go right away and be done before the leaders came in off the podium but I misfired with only 60mL of pee and had to drink 4 bottles of water and wait and hour before I could finish the job. Rookie maneuver.

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