All Right Mr. DeMille, I’m Ready for my Close-up
UCI Trek CX World Cup race report.
Already Trek CX race weekend was an improvement on the previous year. In 2017, I rolled an ankle crashing on an off-camber during Friday's UCI C2 race. Leaving me hobbling around the rest of the week-end, and racing the World Cup with a painful, taped-up landing foot. I didn't exactly put my best foot - ahem - forward for that race. So, when I managed a clean, strong 9th overall showing this year in Friday's C2, I was feeling pretty stoked! #RubberSideDown
How many times can you pre-ride a course? The answer for me on Sunday, was maybe one to many. On my last pass on the Full Tilt Boogie before going to get warmed up, I plunged down the backside of the course - a steep, rutted out transition onto the pavement - before the Segafredo Run-Up. At the bottom, I heard a pop. And as a I rolled to the run-up to dismount, the bike flipped me onto the grass. Yeah, I'm that graceful. Thinking, "Maybe I should practice dismounts a few more times", I grabbed the bike and slowly walked up the hill. At the top, a Segafredo rep, says "you're going to do that faster in the race, right?" To which I responded, "Ya, just need one more cup of espresso." Ha! But then, setting the bike down to remount, the tire was now popped off the wheel. Sad face. Straight to the pits to confer with #DougEFreshCX. 100% Operator Error. #dontdothatintherace Can not stress this enough. But, guess what, now we have wheels for the FMB SSC Slalom Pro tubular tires from CXisBoss that I bought as part of the Wide Angle Podium (Wild Angle Podium?) support drive!
Race number: Lucky number 13! Again this year. No, I did not wear it upside down. I wore it side ways. And TNR-taped on. Lined up in the third row with out any expectations for the start except go as hard as possible. Right off the line, it was a jumble. Pretty sure I got spit out the back (a quick check of the replay, and yes, I got spit out the back). But then we started hitting the corners, and I was finding small gaps (big enough for someone 6ft tall) to ride into all over the place, gaining 1-2 spots here and there. The first lap was a blur, but coming over the last fly-over and seeing the starting straight stretch (say that 3x fast) out before me, it seemed I had made the selection. I was in the leading groups, only seconds behind: World champions, National Champions, and me.
Lots of back and forth. Grab that wheel. Bridge to the next rider. Watch out for someone sliding out in front of you. Just keep riding, just keep riding - there's a root, there's rock, who cares, just ride, fast! I had quite a few fans at the Secret Bar (what does that say?), and tried to flash them a smile every time I came around, while still staying focused, of course.
The penultimate lap and very much in contention with a group of women that comprised 8-13th place (in a World Cup - I really can't stress this enough). I railed an off-camber corner just a little too fast. Coming in hot! No one saw, but I went down, wheels under the tape, drawing blood on both knees, an elbow, and my pride. I even put a hole (a "donut hole") into my new socks. Losing that wheel in front of me. Friend and fastie, Claire Honsinger, came by and took off. After checking that the chain was still on and nothing was broke, I remounted as Frenchy, fellow #VanDessel teammie caught up to me. She yelled, "Come on Sunny, go, go, go." That's all I needed.
Was I losing tire pressure from a small hole? Is that why I slid out? Did I break anything on the bike that hadn't shown itself, yet? Take no chances. Pit. Doug was ready. And hopped on to my other bike, taking off like I was on a rocket ship in hot pursuit of Claire and Eva Lechner.
We were three, chasing, attacking. Over the log barriers, a spectator called out "I've read your papers". Looking back, I literally almost stopped to have a conversation with him. This is the nicest compliment you can give to a scientist, by the way. But, I had a "plunge" to contend with and a race to wrap-up. Into the final turns, Trek Factory Hill ("This is going to be Fun"), Eva slid out at the top, allowing Claire to get a jump on us. I came around and punched it. Hammering up that hill with my best effort all day. Even tried to get a little air on the last fly-over. It wasn't a Toon Aerts tailwhip, or anything, but you know - there was air. The finish line was too close to chase down Claire. Still, it was impossible not to smile coming down that finishing straight in 15th - highest finish in a World Cup!
Fancy new duds!
If you happened to catch me zipping around the course all week-end, you may have noticed that I had more "costume" changes than Whoopi Goldberg at the 1999 Oscars. Keeping #DougEFreshCX on his toes as he tries to spot me coming around toward the pit? Maybe. Or, "the clothes taketh the woman". On Saturday, I felt like "Bam!", let's get ready to race a World Cup! Hoping to channel some of the comfortable, confident, and beautiful meaning behind the creation of Velorosa into a "fabulousa" race the next day.
On Sunday, after a pre-ride in the classic red/black kit, I switched into a brand-spanking new design! Thanks to the tireless work of Edwin Bull, the fine folks at Pactimo, and my friend and fellow St. Louisian, Mr Derek Prior, you may have noticed, I rolled a new kit! Pink on the shoulders, Van Dessel proudly displayed, and the hint of a pattern across the midsection and cuffs. What is that pattern? For the nerdy types, or fans of CSI, you might recognize that as the stylistic image of a DNA fingerprinting gel! I called the design "It's in my DNA". More on this in a later post!