After chilly temperatures and brief thunder showers the week previous, it got real sweaty, steamy hot come race day. The course was mostly unchanged from the previous years I've raced here, same general direction just a few added rocks and one new multi-line section. If anything they managed to push in more climbing, 180 meters per lap, in less space. Basically just up or down and no recovery.
Called up 43rd and came through the start loop in 35th, which is decent considering my starting abilities, especially this time of year (basically early season for me still). Had some work to do make my way into into my soft placing goal of top 20/25 ish, but I was able to keep the gas on, push through some traffic early in the first lap and make my way up the standings. I was told before the start that with the challenging course and hellish temperatures, 34 degrees apparently, guys were burning themselves out in previous races; it was going to be important to keep a controlled easy pace early and work into the race, and that's just what I thought I was doing. As one Mike Woods would say, I felt good! I found myself in the top 25 on the third lap and decided to just sit on the next guy I caught, rest a lap before driving it out. However, when I caught that guy and found he was going unbearably slow, I just said screw it and pushed on. The heat lords had different plans for me though, and things tumbled downhill from there.
We had just met Steve and Jo the day before while trying to find somebody to feed us during the race; they are the parents of a young downhiller on the Dirt-Norco squad. Jo did an unreal job, like she should quit her day job and make a go at the XC feed zone game. However, as I didn't know it was going to be hotter than molten steel that day, we didn't coordinate any water for the dumping on my dome. I dumped my jersey in the river before starting and it was dessert dry by the second lap. My body could never contain the amount of sweaty water needed to keep me cool and I over heated quickly. Despite riding within myself for the first 3 laps, I received a hard back-hand fire slap across the face on the forth and my lap times tumbled. I fought the idea of dropping out by telling myself to stop being a puss. Somewhat angry and negative self talk but hey, I kept going and damage controlled enough to only lose 10 spots in the 2nd half of the race.
33 for me, not my best WC result and well off what I came for. But for a brief time I was crushing it and that showed me that I'm on track and ready for nationals in one months time.
|Last lap (I think) in Vermiglio - credit Adam Morka|
|Zurich airport outdoor lounge|