Quick World Championship report as we are headed off to the Maltese Islands for a much needed holiday. I will try update from warm, sunny malta with some photos of the Canadian view of worlds.
Death or Glory. That is what Norm always says to me before a big race. You have to go for it. So I went for the glory. Unfortunately it backfired. But noone can ever accuse me of racing conservatively. I had a good start off the second row. Up the hill things were looking good but then chaos at the first corner. I dont know what it is about girls but they seem to get jiggy off the line. Cant control their speed or something. I saw out of the corner of my eye a crash just waiting to happen almost in slo-mo. A Dutch gal going into the corner waaaaaay too hot so I cornered tighter to avoid the inevitable. In the video footage you can actually see another crash just behind me happening at the exact same time. Somehow I managed to thread the needle and squeek through both crashes and found myself with a select group off the front. It was now or never....death or glory.
There really was no question. It was World Championships so I went for it. Race plan out the window. I tried to stay with multi World Champion Hanka Kuperfernagel. Who has been on the podium every single year since the first womens World Champs. Was I a little out of my league? Probably, but that didn't stop me. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaang on Wendy! The pace was insanely fast as Katie Compton was off the front and Hanka did NOT want someone from the US to win (she actually said this outloud at an interview afterwards.....). I had watched the espoir race the day before and things let up a bit at the end of the first lap so I went ALL OUT that first lap trying to hang on. Mistakenly thinking there would be a moment to catch my breath. Unfortunately for me, when we hit the start hill Hanka cranked up the pace even FASTER and I blew up. Sky high. The chase group was close behind so I fell back to them and tried to stay with them. It worked for a bit but my body was a bit jello-y and my legs were screaming. I just needed a teeny rest. For the love of god SLOW DOWN! It was such a windy fast race staying with groups was really important but I had used up all my matches too early. I slid backwards for the rest of the race. I knew I needed to hold wheels but I just couldn't. I made up time on the few technical sections there were on course but to no avail. I slid all the way to 18th. A slow, painful fall from potential glory....I was in rough shape at the end with a vicious headache and the distinct taste of blood. I was as close to puking as I ever could be.
If I had raced smarter I might have been able to stay with the big group that eventually made up 4th-11th. Who knows. But surprisingly I am OK with my 18th spot knowing that I went for it on the day. Sure I would have liked a better finish but this is likely the last World Champs in my career and I can walk away saying I tried to ride with the best. I couldn't hang on. But I tried. Question answered. Now go eat some chocolate and get a tan on Malta.
Maybe in a week or a month I will get that little niggle that says "well maybe if I did this, or that, or trained this way or ran these tires..or what if____?" Its the what-ifs always brings me back. But for now I am OK with being 18th in the world. Maybe I am just getting soft.
Thanks to everyone who believed in me! I might not have been top 3 in the world but I definitely tried and I couldnt have done it without all your support.