Posted by Editoress on 07/10/00
UCI Tissot World Cup #7, Canmore, Alberta Canada July 9th, 2000
Courtesy Chrissy Redden
The Course: Even though the course was completely unchanged from 1999, it felt completely different due to the perfect conditions for the 2000 version. (Last year, rain and snow fell during the races, which made the course super sloppy and forced the riders to run many of the uphill and downhill sections). Gary Fisher/SAAB rider Ryder Hesjedal promised us that the course would be completely dry with "highway" conditions. We doubted him a bit because of the threatening skies, but his prediction held for both men's and women's races.
For many riders, this is one of the best courses we race on all year due to a well thought-out course design and, quite simply, outrageously fun single-track and descents. Of course, the climbs - with cute names such as 'The Oven' and 'Ziggy' - break a few legs and wills along the way. The women raced four laps while the men traveled five and half times around the challenging circuit.
The Men:The dry course conditions promised a blazing fast race: from the time the gun signaled the start, it seemed like it was a sprint to the finish. We started out with a criterium-style loop in the stadium before heading up the main part of the climb. During the first lap, Cadel Evans (Volvo-Cannondale) and Bas Van Dooren (Be-one) distanced themselves from a ten man-strong chase group, which included a strong-riding Pavel Tcherkassov (Gary Fisher/SAAB). Pavel led the chase through the stadium and rode in that group for the next few laps. Ryder follwed close by in the next group back.
Even with the varied climbing (rooty, steep, or wide-track) and the ripping fast and bumpy descending, riders formed sizeable groups throughout the day, which led to an extremely exciting race with riders "moving up" and "dropping back" throughout the day. Cadel ended up dropping his companion with a lap to go and crossed the finish line with a scant 13 second advantage, once again showing that his form is tops for this mid-summer racing in Canada.
Pavel began cramping and faded over the last few laps and ended up finishing 24th for the day. Still, this was encouraging after his few days of sickness before last week's World Cup in Mont Ste. Anne (He had to withdrawl from that race). Ryder continued his strong performance and finished a solid 16th place as second North American. Canadian Roland Green (Team GT) rounded out the top three and once again proved that he can compete with the world's best.
As for me (Andy Bishop), this marked my last competition in a World Cup Race. I finished 44th for the day, though I would have liked to perform more in line with my ability. After passing the finish line on the bell lap, I decided to savor the beauty of my thirteen-year profession on the bike, and took a "victory lap" of sorts. As I pedaled up the trails, I marveled at the towering Canadian Rockies and the scintilating green of evergreens shadowing the newly uncovered sun shinning down on me (and I suppose the other riders and spectators too!) Here I was in this blissful state of reflection, thoroughly enjoying myself and my lovely Sugar, soaking up the marvelous feeling of synergy between bike, course, and rider! (A few riders took advantage of my transcendental state and zipped by me to notch a higher spot in the rankings - but that did not bother me in the slightest). Don't worry: I still have three of the NORBA-NCS races to focus on so this is not the last installment.:) And though I will do a more proper thanking of many people in one of those future installments, I would like to thank EVERYBODY (all the sponsors, staff, friends, riders, fans, etc.) that made today so memorable!!
The Women:The women started at precisely 10:30 am on a glorious Sunday morning. I also was doubting my teammate, Ryder with his gauranteed highway prediction, but was happy his prediction came true. The women were scheduled for 4 laps plus a start loop around the stadium, I was leery that our finish time would be on the long side, but I guess we were faster than I thought because the winning time was under 2 hours. After last week's results, I managed to earn a berth on the front row today. My old time acquaintance, Fred Seeman, shot the gun and me and my closest friends blasted off to an extemely fast sprint up the climb. The real race was to the single track 2km up the climb, and I wasn't in the running. Alison Sydor (Volvo Cannondale) and Barbara Blatter (Scott USA) were the ones pushing the pace followed painfully by Alison Dunlap (GT), Alla Epifanova (Volvo Cannondale), myself Chrissy Redden (Gary Fisher/SAAB) and Jimena Florit (RLX Polo Sport). The first descent was crazy-fast. I was loving my Gary Fisher Sugar (dual suspension) bike today!! The rest of the race saw Barbara gapping Alison S. Alla catching up the Alison, myself yo-yoing between these two teammates and Alison D. and Jimena. The real race, for a while was for second as at the top of the climb on the third lap, all 5 of us were within about 30 seconds. It was an exciting race to race and I hope it was exciting to watch! I'll have to ask the 5000 spectators the next time I see them.
One huge missing link today was my teammate, Mary Grigson. I felt her lack of presence both this morning and after the race today.
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