Monday, May 23, 2016

Albstadt World Cup Race Recap

Yesterday was a whirlwind of pain and fun and it kinda flew by, which is good and bad, it was a Tale of Two Cities kinda day! I'm glad the super agonizing part went by fast, but I would have liked the rest of it to have lasted longer!

Random brass band on the most beautiful road. 
The morning started off with a warm up where I ran into a German brass band on a random side road! How great is that?! I also love the warm up coach gives me for each race because it's nice to have a task to focus on instead of nerves.

Then it was all business. I found my start box, the one with riders seated 65-80 (there was one box behind me for 80-95 or something) and thought about pretty much nothing, honestly, my mind was blank. I spent so much time this week stressed about my terrible start position and the likelihood of a crash or bottleneck at the start that I didn't really have any more energy to worry about it by 11am on Sunday.
Not exactly a picture from the start, but this was close to the beginning of the course and race.
The start was almost as bad as I had imagined it would be, I basically went right to the back (you can see in the red footage!) and then everyone was off their bikes running and so was I! Then it was just a scramble to try to pass, but everyone was fresh so they would surge and not let you past and soon we were on lap 2 and my HR was pinned and I thought I was going to die! It seemed impossible to do 4 more laps of all that steep climbing, so I tried to focus on all the breaks in the agony, the descents!

Making chicks chase the Rad's Logo... in Germany, NBD
The track was totally different from when I pre-rode it on Thursday, nice and dry and not even sketchy at all! So I pinned the descents and thought about chasing the Rads. I also thought about Missy Kearley giving me shit for double finger breaking because on the longest, steepest descent I realized I had been single finger breaking the whole time!

A fun, steep little drop-ish section. See that one finger braking Missy?!
Lots of riders to pass! This section was super steep and had two options. 
The laps ticked by, I started passing other riders one by one, I would want to sit on their wheel, but then they would be going too slowly, so I would pass them and keep pushing. Brendan gave me pretty good updates and support from the feed zone, letting me know who was looking pained ahead to motivate me to catch them. On the second climb of each lap, the longer sustained one, I kept reminding myself that it was nothing compared to Trabuco trail and I thought about demolishing Carl in the Santa Anas, hehe :)

Another steep descent, almost vertical but ending with a rad bermed right hand turn that was SO fun!
Then something in me flipped, I guess not instantly, but I started to have fun. I started laughing on the descents, and not really dreading the climbs as much. I started thinking '2 more laps AFTER this, I can do that!' instead of 'HOW am I going to do that?' I noticed that the riders around me had numbers in the 30's (on the number pinned on their backs) and when I passed through the start finish I saw I WAS IN the 30's! It still hurt, and my calves were starting to cramp, but it was exciting to have endured so much agony and to suddenly see a payoff! Plus, the descents were starting to be really really fun. I followed Eva Lechner and watched her lines. I tried braking as little as possible and I soaked in the ridiculousness of the number of spectators. Did I mention there were thousands of people in the woods?

And this is just between the two climbs!
At the start, because of all the congestion, I assumed that I wouldn't make it to the last lap. The leaders got such a huge head start on those of us in the traffic jam that I figured they would come close to lapping me and that I would get pulled before lap 6. I was kinda taking solace in the idea of only having to complete 5 laps in the beginning of the race, but by lap 4 I WANTED to do all the laps. And I got to! I finished lap 6 in 33 place, so so happy to be done, but also so happy to have survived to the end, and to have not given in to the pain that said 'it's ok if those two girls behind you catch you'.

Suffering it out on the last lap. 

 And that was that! My first Euro mountain bike race in the books. Some other quick highlights of the day include: SRAM stepping in and replacing my shift cable 15 minutes before I was supposed to be warming up because Brendan and I could not get the bike shifting well for the life of us, having a desperate need for ice cream after the race because it was almost 90 degrees and my throat hurt but not finding ANYTHING but beer and Wurst everywhere on the course, and looking up during the race to see a sea of faces on the sidelines, that was THE COOLEST (also Colin said it cost 14 Euros to get in to spectate, ALL THOSE PEOPLE PAID 14 Euros?!?!)!

It's still so crazy to me to have this opportunity to race bikes in Europe, I'm so so grateful for everyone's support to get me here! I know I should be happy with my result, but being a professional athlete can mean always being hungry for more, and I am definitely hungry to do better next time. The good news is that next time is one week away. Le Bresse, France, here I come!!!


  1. way to go!! When I scanned the results was so proud to see how high you placed

  2. Enjoying your recaps very much! Keep 'em coming!

  3. Way to go Kid! Keep having fun :)

  4. Awesome! So exciting to read about your adventure. Good luck!!

  5. Thanks for the exciting story. Keep smiling as you pass'em in Le Bresse.

  6. Wow, thanks so much for sharing this great story / race report. I follow you on Instagram, but found this on Face Book thanks to Non Dot's post... Look forward to the next one!

  7. Miss Chay loves to read your stories of pain and suffering followed by typical Larissa remarks "Best day ever!!"

  8. It is remarkable blog. I wanted to learn such type of the things that I have got from here at one platform. Thanks.