Posted by Editor on 01/31/99
Report From Poprad
Ray Duggan-Team Saeco-Nat Cross.
It's a couple of hours after the race. Thanks to CC for putting my result in bold print (HaHa). I had to hurry back to buy water as the open all night store closed at 4pm. The quote of the day "How do you like those apples!!" heard all day in the American changebox-I was sharing with them. The bar just went up again. C'mon guys and now (finally) girls-It can be done! I didn't see the junior race but a cross rainbow in the States!-pretty incredible. It wasn't as cold today but not by much. It was a lot windier today though and was rough staying up on my warm-up laps but didn't seem bad during the race.
I did very well in the start lottery and got third out of the unranked countries. So I should have been in 49th out of 68-9?on the line. Like that ever matters. After the ranked countries it was a free for all. They called the Americans-just ahead of me on the list-and they were already up on the line. So I did manage to stay just ahead of the back but not by much. The Brits who should have behind me were ahead and beside. I need to put on 40 and learn to push. (It might help when B. Arthurs heals too! -Hope you're riding again man!) The Brits new jersey design is neat and ugly at the same time-You'll know what I mean when you see it. The start was different from previous ones because it wasn't part of the lap - there was no loudspeaker calling out time to go. We were all chatting and then a 5 sec. hush to realize Hey, it's time and then bang. The start was good - little pushing - just trying to get up as far as I could. I passed more than passed me so that was good. At the first barrier I caught Mark Gullickson (US) and was trying to encourage him to go faster on the run-up. At the top I think he was trying to recover because he wasn't pedaling down. I should have gotten used to the view because I was behind him 20-100m for the race. We started passing guys - even a French dude on the 2nd or 3rd lap. and then I started to hurt a lot on the climb. The rest was okay as it was very icy and so staying up was the key there but the hill started to take it out of me and guys I had passed were coming back. That's all because of a lack of racing which is my own fault. My last race was the Supercup in Boston on Dec. 20th. Definitely that had an effect but I have no one to blame but myself. I felt really good on the technical sections and lost a little to Mark when my chain came off on the off-camber descent. This was the retirement race for my cross frames-they're used up and I spent a lot of time last night (no mechanic) getting my 2nd bike in working order. It seems like the fork was twisted a little in transit? It just took time and was frustrating not having the relaxation time I wanted. It ended up that I didn't use it because it was too cold for anything to stick to the frame and I didn't flat. The chain was a problem but seemed the lesser of two evils. This is my first and last World's without support - my usual soigneur couldn't make the trip and I definitely miss the support. Yes, I'll pay for him next year. I did manage okay just because of the course and even with all the bike prep. before things can go wrong.
I don't know much about the race as I was a (little) bit away from the lead riders. I got some morale from being a lot further ahead than I thought I would be at the end of each lap, then at the end of the third? lap they announced that it would be an 11 lap race. To steal a Wedge quote "My heart sunk". I don't even know who was leading when I was lapped but Van der Poel was in there. I was with a Brit when we were lapped and he kept going. I asked if he was continuing until told to stop and he didn't answer I kept asking and he wouldn't talk. I was going half speed on his wheel - One of the detriments about not having a manager and I forgot to ask if lapped were pulled immediately (usually) or if we finished the lap. - and then we got up to Mark (his last race for GT) and he was off the course so I left the course to join him and find Jiri Manius with the clothes. Vervecken was leading with a lap to go but De Clerq caught him and apparently there was a lot of pushing and elbows going on. Sorry that's all I know. Dale Knapp (US) went through just before the winner so he stayed on the lead lap.
All in all It's been a great trip. I just have to make it home now. I leave tomorrow and will get back on Tues. night. I'll try to write again when I get back as there is probably a lot of stuff that I've forgotten.
It was kind of funny- Frischknecht came into our changebox and congratulated the US guys for the junior win and then started an equipment discussion with questions on what he used. Funny until you realize that he doesn't believe he knows everything and is constantly trying to learn and do new things. To be the best and stay at the same level will only put you behind. He is constantly learning. I can say the same. Each week over here I learn more than the whole season in Canada. My technique is getting better, I just need the race fitness.
I would like to thank my new team-Saeco-(Thanks Yann!), Clark Natwick of the US for playing manager at the meetings (without him No Ride). Also I owe a big thank you to the CCA for allowing me to come over here and doing a lot of last minute things to get me on my way. Greatly Appreciated everyone.
I wasn't going to say this until I have more news on it but I'm pretty excited about it. I'm having dinner tonight with some people who have offered to get me set up in Europe for the cross season next year. This is a big part of what I wanted out of the trip and would be much better prep for next year's World's. I'm okay with what I did over here given the circumstances but I have to jump on any chance I have to improve and learn. I made one jump with this trip, but time for a bigger one.
The US results are definitely a big boost to NA cross-let's jump on the bandwagon- more will come out of this and more riders = better competition = better racers. I never want to have to go to a World's by myself again.
The first question at yesterday's press conference didn't go to the winner. It went to Tim Johnson who finished 3rd. He got most of the questions. Today was probably different-the US guy won- so ya the winner did get them. I just don't want us to waste the exposure cross will get now in NA.
Ray Duggan-Team Saeco-Nat'l Cross
The OCA is looking for 10-12 volunteers, on Sat. Feb. 06/99 to help stuff 2000 envelopes for a mailing to its members. This mailing will include an update to the members and 1999 licence applications. Please contact Ralph Neumann at: email@example.com
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