Posted by Editoress on 02/5/04
Tour de Langkawi
Samantha Nicholson's Report 2004 World Cyclocross Championships
February 2, 2004 (on the motorway to the Paris, France)
So! It was an unbelievable experience. Worlds.
In Europe, where people know / understand / follow / LOVE cyclocross!! It's on TV, prime-time TV! Little old grannies come out and watch - in their matching rubber boots and umbrella!! The fans are crazy, almost bordering on obsessive
When Wendy and I hopped out of the team van the morning of the race, a fan had asked if I had ac photo. As I had seen the pros all handing out their photos / postcards at the Nommay World Cup, I had Ewan print me up a couple of snazzy prints! It was like feeding pigeons. You sign one and another ten take its placeÃ¢Ë†â€˜ After my signing fame was over, it was onto the envelopes - self-addressed, stamped envelopes (not much use to me in Canada, but hey, it's the thought that counts!!) were provided for the atheletes to send a photo to them!! Very organised
Things had dried up in the 18-hours prior to the women's race. Now it was just a tiny bit muddy. It was very odd as it was super warm outside, positively balmy at 10C but the strong gusty winds kept things interesting.
My inauspicious starting position on the back row left a lot to be desired but I worked hard and was able to move up to the top half of the pack on the straight, wide pavement section (mandatory for the start of a UCI cyclocross race). As expected, there was some terrible jostling around the first corner and girls were dabbing and sliding all over the placeÃ¢Ë†â€˜ I was right next to Anne Knapp (you ROCK, Anne!!) and we were both trying to get around the others. Once I had picked my way around the carnage I was now on the first slightly technical section which was backed up with riders. More dabbing and crashing. The peleton blew apart. All this in the first few minutes of the race!
All things mechanical
My chain had intimate issues with my spokes. As I was moving up the group on the technical sections, my rear wheel took a hit from some chick's fork during the early jockeying-for-a-good-position!! The sound it made was actually quite spectacular! The next time I shifted into my granny, it was a Ã¢â‚¬Å¾love marriageÃ¢â‚¬Â° between the spokes and the chain. I'm not sure which sound sticks in my head more, the grinding metal-to-metal or the Ã¢â‚¬Å¾ooouuuu'sÃ¢â‚¬Â° of the super-fans!! I threw my bike up on my shoulder and ran like a mad-girl into the pits which were nearly half a kilometer awayÃ¢Ë†â€˜ As I sprinted up to the pits, I could watch all of my hard work ride past me, one-by-one. Argh.
I was dead last coming out of the pits. I put my head down and slogged on to regain several positions (I finished 30th). It was super hard going but I can honestly say I did my best! I had really hoped for another top 15 finish (last season I finished 13th at the first World Cup race in Frankfurt), but I did what I could on the day and am very satisfied with that.
My moment of fame is being passed by race winner, Laurence (Leboucher), 20-meters from the finish/start line (you can see me in the background as the cameras capture her winning). I completed my final lap and even had a finish-line interview. It's been a hard winter for me and it's time for a bit of a break before my road season starts in April.
Now I definitely need a plan that fits my 2005 World Championship ambitions!!!!
My sincerest thanks to
My mom coming over from Waterloo, ON to watch my race!!
Reynolds for supplying me with 2 pairs of super light carbon wheelsÃ¢Ë†â€˜
Dirk Friel, my coach at www.trainingbible.com.
My husband, Ewan (check out www.ewannicholson.ca later this week).
Hopsitality from all my friends (expecially Jerome, Jean-Pierre, Martijn & Caroline).
Martin Eadon, Manager of the UK National Cyclocross team, for all his help and support!
Our pit crew - Corey, Norm and Tucker - you guys rock!!!!
The borrowed Tufo tubular clinchers - perfect for the conditions!!
Greg for gluing his Tufos on my wheels which are still MIA with KLM/NW.
My friends at Van Herwerden Bikes in The Hague.
The crew at The Bike Shop in Calgary, Alberta.
The Alberta Bicycle Association for their continued assistance and support.
Roger at Transition Sports Consulting for all the pain-endurance (aka massage)!
Norm and my colleagues & friends at Shell Canada for all their support and wishes!!
It was something very special being in Europe to represent my country.
P.S. Ewan is nearly over his suspected food poisioning although his stomache is still quite uncertain about foodÃ¢Ë†â€˜ Nasty.
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