Rachel races on our 38 full carbon tubulars
I just spent two hours writing a beautiful story about this past weekend. It ended up being more about our travels and adventures than the race, but alas when I went to send it off to all of you, it disappeared into wild blue yonder of the computer world. I do not think I can muster up the strength to re-write it, I am not a writer. The stories I write just flow and can not be re-created. I will try to hit on some highlights.
We managed to get a rental car with the help of Gert Van Mechelens Dad Jo (sounds like Yo.) on Friday. Packed our bags and checked the bikes over only to discover a cracked rim on one of my rear wheels, maybe from the flight over. Woke up Saturday morning at 5:30am and left the house by 6:30am. Despite our worries of getting lost we found our way to Montbéilard with no problems. We found our hotel with no problems, till they told us that the hotel was full and they had booked us at another hotel. Hotel La Balance. We found the hotel, checked in and headed out to the race course. Finding the course was a bit of a wild goose chase, we kept following the yellow Coupe de Monde UCI signs and closed gates. Finally we parked the car and I rode to the course, we could see it the whole time! I rode a couple laps, and could tell that it would be a thick muddy race the following day. After I finished riding on the roads around town, got changed and warmed up (Sam had thoughtfully brought hot chocolate) we went to the Permanance to pick up race numbers, pit passes and parking passes. That done we decided to skip the managers meeting and head back to our hotel. Once showered and warm we ventured out into the old town of Montbéliard to find some food. We soon discovered that you can not sit down to dinner before 7pm in France. So we decided to walk to the Christmas market that we had heard about. It was beautiful, the Christmas spirit was everywhere. Sam took lots of photos, there was an out door ice skating rink, lights lined the streets of Le Avenue de la Lumeier. There were market areas with vendors selling Crépes, vin chaud (hot mulled wine) and crafts and artisanal work. We bought a beautiful cutting board made from olive wood for the owners of the house we are staying at. The night was magical and I know I ended up walking around way more than was prudent for the night before a race, but this will most likely be my last season racing cross in Belgium so carpé diem! To make up for it all the walking I slept 12 hours. Sam woke me up at 9am so we would make it down to breakfast before they closed the doors. We checked out of the hotel at 11am and headed to the course in Nommay.
The race course: 250 meters paved start to a left hairpin turn to a 30 meter uphill stair section... steep hill with smooth round pieces of wood put into the hillside to make steps. It did not look good. I started on the 5th row and as I expected by the time we got to the stairs it was jammed up. Once to the top we got going and started passing girls. Georgia Gould was back with me and I figured we were around 30th position. The course was thick, slick mud with three good steep hillsides that were partially ride able. I worked my way into 8th place and stayed there. During the race I could hear that Katie and Hanka were racing for the win and that Georgia had made it into third place, which was truly amazing considering how far back she started. Katie ended up riding away from Hanka and I felt great finishing in 8th with an all time best finish at a World Cup. Today Sam,Gert and I spent the day walking around Antwerpen. Gert telling us ancient stories about the city and thoroughly entertaining us. Next up the World Cup in Zolder Belgium the day after Christmas.
Thanks for reading,