Posted by Editor on 02/1/04
'Cross Worlds Reports
We have been receiving daily reports from "Team Canada" at the 'Cross Worlds in Pont Château, France. Here are the reports covering yesterday's races, and prep for today.
Cyclo-Cross the fastest growing sport in Canada!!
10 pm the night before the world cyclo-cross championships.
A lot of people in France must have done a lot of things wrong in the past few days because we woke up this morning and HELL had opened up on western France. The wind was howling and the rain came down sideways. All the pre-riding that Samantha and Wendy had done this week on a dry course turned a lot less important over night. Corey and I left our village early to set everything up for Samantha and Wendy's arrival. We were changing tires on one of the wheel sets in the "cabana" beside the window as there was no electricity, lights or heat when we both looked out the window. From way across the parking lot 100 meters away there was something happening out of the movie Twister. The wind had picked up the USA Team's Luna Clif bar tent and it was 30 feet in the air and tumbling over and over towards us. It smashed into our rental vehicle ("It was like that when we got it") and the Polish team's vehicle before it smashed right into our portable. I WISH I had the whole thing on film because it was totally surreal.
With 10 Thousand people running and walking around the outside 10 feet of the race course it did not take long for the whole thing to turn into soupy mud mess. It was crazy and we will be sure NOT to show any of those pictures to the parks and rec people in Nanaimo when we talk to them about putting on a race next year.
I had three layers on "my bottoms" this morning and I was soaked right through. It was raining SO hard in the morning but by the afternoon the high winds had pushed all the rain clouds away and it was still windy but warm. 15 degrees! The under 23 racers were having to unzip their skin suits as they were almost all overdressed.
One thing we can try to explain is the dynamic nature of c-x race spectators. At the start of the race everyone is evenly spread around the course and basically staying in place. Once the gun goes off all hell breaks loose. People are running from one place to another like there is a blue light special going on at K-Mart. It is totally insane. Corey and I both understand now why people get trampled at sporting events now. Death by mud drowning would not be the way to go.
Not race related
When we got back to our race village this afternoon it was still light out. Weird thing here is that it does not get dark until about 6:00pm and not light until about 8:30am. So I headed out for a run. My ribs are starting to feel a little better and it was so warm out I wanted to take advantage of it. In a town where you know nothing about the area it is always tough to find a good route. This time I totally lucked out and found a trail that basically followed the water for 10k to the next village. It was one of the best runs I have ever had. In shorts, in France, by the water, single track, mud and the biggest grin on my face after the wickedest day of world championship spectating. Who would have guessed!
Samantha's mom is in France some place close to here. She sent Ewan an e-mail saying she was going to show up but we are not sure where she is. We are hoping that she will make it to the race site tomorrow so Samantha made her a special race supporter jacket in the style of the Belgium team and all the other Euro's that have the funky jackets. Of course the Euro jackets are all sewn up nicely and look all pro and Sam's mom's will be duct taped together....still very cool.
I am not sure which ones Canadian Cyclist will post on their web site (ed. - they all went up last night) but we had a slide show this evening courtesy of ewan nicholson photography inc from the two races from today. He had about 50 pictures from each race and there were some awesome shots. He has been able to get right on the course and even scored a sweet spot for the finish of the under 23 race.
Corey and I have our plan all laid out for tomorrow. Wendy's two Surlys, Samantha's Kona and Corey's Fuji (Samantha's back up bike) are all ready for action. We have worked out all the details. Done timed runs from the hotel to the race site. Figured out all the back routes. Recruited Tucker Thomas from the USA junior squad for our pits. Talked race strategy with the girls. Packed our bags. Set the alarms. Avoided the duck. Made sure all the workouts are done. The girls (and I think Corey's) legs are shaved. The uniforms are dialed. Everything that we can think of is done and ready to get those girls to the line at 11:00am tomorrow as sharp as possible. We are all proud of them at this moment and we will be proud of them tomorrow!! Send them good luck at 2:00am your time on the West Coast if you are still up (or would it kill you to set your alarm at that time?) !! Thanks.
Always the birthdays while I am away....Have a good one Erik M. (February 1st), Nicholas Tarver (February 2nd) and Dave Fenton (February 3rd)
Thanks for reading and thanks for everyone's support.
"Le Petit Pecheur" Norm in Western France.
Well, Norm just about covered it all for now. The two races today were unreal. Considering the crowds at today's races I just can't imagine how many people will be out tomorrow. We have to thank Leroy, the Clifbar mechanic for helping us out when Wendy's shifter pooched out, we made him feel guilty for shooting his tent at us. Also way to go to all the Junior and U23 American riders for big efforts today, especially to our favorite Tucker Thomas, a Rad Racing Northwest rider. The northwest is almost Canada. It's going to be a big day tomorrow, Canadian girls kick ass!
Now 11:00pm and we are laughing like school kids in the Hotel room. We better be quiet....
Friday, January 30, Pont Chateau, France
After the World Cup in Nommay, I spent two more days in Belgium before heading to The Hague in The Netherlands. It was great being back in my old stomping grounds, as I lived in The Hague from 1997 to 2001. My friends at Van Herwerden Bikes remembered me and helped me out when I broke the buckle off my new Sidi shoes! A new jersey, a new buckle plus some new spikes and I was off for Zonnebeke! Plus I've found my next cross bike - she's pink!!
Zonnebeke was a classic - flat, muddy and sandy. The elite women raced with the Juniors on another (very) muddy course!! Will the mud ever stop?! I had a good race once I got the first lap out of my system... I haven't seen the official results but I think I was 5th or so out of about 8 women who started.
Sunday, I headed for Hoogstraten for the 13:30 race confirmed by the race organizer. Did I mention that I spoke to the Race Organizer and confirmed the start of the women's race? Well, short story is that I was given a number to start the 13:30 race (with all the U23's) and then discovered that the women were coming off the course as I was hopping on to warm up... The race organizer said it was okay to race with the U23's but the UCI official was having NOTHING to do with it. NOTHING. Nada. Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Les femmes seulement 40 minutes et avec les juniors... Ne pas avec le U23's... C'est une regulation d' UCI, seulment 40 minutes pour les femmes... Les U23's sont 50 minutes...Ã¢â‚¬Â°. Blah. Blah. Blah. Fromage etc. So, I had a super few laps on the sandy (!) course then a beautiful ride through the countryside...
I took the train to Paris to pick up husband/photographer Ewan. It was the epic train journey as the 1:15 direct trip turned into the 3 hour milk run plus a 2 hour delay. As I was lugging my gear between terminals at the airport wondering how I'd find Ewan after missing our meeting point by several hours, I was very relieved when we eventually met at the car rental office. And then I realized he didn't have my NEW REYNOLDS WHEELS!!??!!! Anyway, it's 5 days later and KLM still haven't even located them. We also haven't yet located my Mom who at 24 hours' notice has decided to come cheer me on. She also for sure has no idea where we are. Maybe she'll arrive with the wheels just in time for the race...
Now it's the night before the race and I'm all packed ready to go! The boys have done a super job with the bikes and Wendy and I pre-rode this morning - it poured with rain last night and the course was very, you guessed it, muddy! There's been more precipitation here (in the last 2 weeks) than all of last year in Calgary!!
Oh. When I was complaining that it was SNOWING in Belgium last week I was very promptly reminded that it was -35C in Calgary at that precise moment.... Nasty.
Wish us luck!!!
Post-race update from Ewan:
Mom arrived. The wheels didn't.
Samantha and Wendy had a great race. Wendy finished 26th and Samantha was 30th. Watch for them to go really big next year and get your sponsorship offer in early to beat the rush. These girls have a SERIOUS taste for racing European-style.
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