Friday, September 10, 2010

World Championships


The 2010 Mountain bike World Championships were in Mount Sainte Anne this year, and they were amazing. The whole event was super cool. The expo was massive with tons of bike teams, countries, and vendors represented, and the race course was very well laid out for spectators and racers alike.

During the week it had been super dry and dusty, and we had good preparation training on it and staying in the condos with the national team. The night before our race it rained quite a bit, and really it just helped the course – knocked the dust down and made it tackier.

The women’s race went off at 11, and I watched the first ½ of it. It was very exciting with Catherine V having a very good ride in the mid 30’s before fading a bit on the last lap to 42nd, and Catharine P having an awesome ride, leading for lap 2 and then fighting back and forth with the top 5 and ending up 4th.

I had to leave from watching their race to get kitted up to race at 2. I had a good warmup and then spun to the starting pens. The fans there were awesome, with tons of friends from NB and all over providing support before the race. Then we were called up individually, and rode up through the crowd, who just loved it and gave huge cheers.

When the gun went off I had a good start and moved up well. There were 3 pileups in the first 1km, and I was able to mostly avoid them and move up. I got into the woods in a pretty good position, and did some running and riding to try and hold my position and move up more. I rode/ran the rocky downhill (there were so many people), and then at the bottom I launched off a rock to pass someone and landed heavily on my back tire and heard a big BRAAAP. I had burped my tire, and it was down to about 10-15psi. There was enough in there that I could ride a bit, so I kept going and rode up the switchback climb. As I was riding I was thinking what I should do, and because it was just burped I figured it should hold air. So I reached back and ripped my CO2 off my seat post, screwed the head on while riding (I had awesome traction at 15psi), and then at the top of the climb I jumped off and put the CO2 on. I didn’t lose much time, but because it was at the start of the race I lost a lot of positions. From them on it was all about being patient and passing when I could. I think it really took me another full lap to clear traffic, and then I felt pretty good and was laying down very competitive lap times.

The most impressive thing about worlds was the crowd. There were so many spectators, I think it was estimated between 40-70 thousand! And the thing about racing in Canada, is that 69,000 of them ALL cheered for the Canadians!!! As Elizabeth put it, you could stand at the bottom of the hill and tell where all 7 of the Canadians were just by listening to the crowd!

It was incredible, there were sections lined 4 deep with spectators, and here I couldn’t make out a single word, it was just a wall of sound. Other sections in the woods I could tell where some of the super fans from NB and the Maritimes were. There was even a section where Jamie Lamb and Barry Carswell had put up a full size bed sheet sign with “GO Allez Hadley Canada” written on it. This definitely brought a grin to my face everytime.

I was definitely motivated by this crowd, and pushed as hard as I could. I steadily moved up all race, and made it onto the last lap without getting pulled. On the last lap I almost caught Raph, and finished 10sec behind him in 45th place and was only 2min back of Derek and Max. Kabush had a very good race and finished 8th.

So now I am back out west and racing the Revelstoke hill climb this Sunday. It is a 27km paved mountain road, with a ton of switchbacks and a very constant 6% grade. Should be fun, I’m trying for the record and to beat Kika by 5min!!!

Many thanks to all the Maritimers who made it up, I heard you out there and pushed harder for it. Thanks also to my parents and Catherine’s parents for your help throughout the season and leading up to the race, and many thanks to everyone at Xprezo for all the support – it has been a great season!