Sunday, August 21, 2011

Val Di Sole

So yesterday I raced the Val Di Sole World Cup. It went way better than I expected considering my “wicked” (sarcasm intended) lead up during the week before.

We left Canmore in a torrential downpour and drove to the Calgary airport Monday afternoon, hopped on the plane after the lightning left and flew to Toronto and then Zurich. From Zurich we took the train towards Val di Sole Italy and finished off our 36hrs of travel with a van ride to our accommodations. We had a sweet hotel about 200m from the race course, with really cool blackout blinds on the windows so I can sleep in, and windows that are hinged in a way to switch between doors and open (but locked) window.

So it seemed like Tuesday just did not even exist, and Wednesday we went for a ride. Catherine and I did a warmup on the bike path and I was talking to her ( I think she was listening) and a bee or wasp flew into my mouth and stung me between my teeth and lip. I kept riding and did a lap of the race course, but during the lap I basically started drooling. The right side of my face went numb and then started to swell up quite a bit. Eventually I found some Benadryl and ice and the swelling stopped.

This is me with the fat lip, fat face, swolled eye, and a "bird beak", yeah, I felt awesome...

The next day I woke up with a tight throat and wasn’t sure if it was a further reaction to the sting or a cold. I went training and had a decent day but the then the cold got worse. Friday I felt pretty bad at times and Saturday was race day. For my warmup I started a hard effort and promptly went to the side of the road and hacked up some nice lung butter, after that I was ok and felt a bit better for the next warmup efforts.

I had a decent call up for the race in 67/120 guys, so I was pretty excited about that. However, right after the gun went off Bury Stander who was on the front line broke his chain and caused a massive crash, so basically I came to a dead stop because I decided not to run over this guy’s head that was in my way, so I got through the crash and then was off. Anyway, I rallied together and rode a pretty slow first lap because there were so many people trying to get into the singletrack at the same time, we would do max effort sprints and then stand still until we could fit through. Then on lap 2 I was able to open it up a bit more and I felt pretty good. This course consisted of about 5 climbs of 20sec to 1min that were super steep and I was able to stand and power up them and pick off a 1 ride on most of them, so it was fun to move up and pass people all race. I consistently passed about 10 riders per lap to finish 76th, so it was an ok day. I am actually happy with my race all things considered, and am looking forward to world champs in 2 weeks, knowing that I can be way faster than right now by just getting healthy, - and I hear it is a fun race course that should suit me well technically.

Catherine had a great race, she rode really well for the first 4 laps and then blew up a bit and lost 7 spots, finishing 39 – which is still her best European world cup ever so that is exciting for her too. We are off to Champery Switzerland Tuesday to prep on the Worlds course.

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