Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Waiting Game

 The view from the top of Plattekill, NY.  Some sweet singletrack descending awaits my Specialized Epic

I have returned home back to Vermont simply relieved after the last Olympic qualifying round in La Bresse, France.  The fourth stop of the world cup tour was an absolute pressure cooker and I was probably under the most pressure I have been in my entire athletic career.  In an ideal world, I would have gotten a great result at the Czech Republic world cup and it would have taken the qualifying pressure off of La Bresse.  Alas, 37th place after a start crash was something I was really proud of but not exactly part of the qualification plan.  The goal was to have a smooth, solid race in La Bresse and that was a fairly tall order considering the course.  La Bresse was one of the most technical courses to date.  We climbed up the side of a valley with the most tricky, technical part coming at the top where I was most tired.  Then, the course was a succession of steep chutes and knee high drops one after another.  It was demanding.  To put it in perspective, in both races, the race leader crashed on the last lap descent about two kilometers from the finish line.  I have never seen the men's leader, Julien Absalon, crash.  It was technical.

I had a great start sitting well in the top fifteen.  I was so glad to make it past the pavement and onto the dirt unscathed.  I sat in the top fifteen for the majority of the race floating back a bit as the laps ticked away.  It was a bit conservative but I think that's exactly what I needed to do.  Finish and finish well.  I had one crash where I flew head first into a crowd of spectators.  The french were awesome.  They picked up my bike and me from the awkward position and got me going again.  One crash was a really solid performance in a race that saw countless crashes.  I ended up in sixteenth and I finished with a relieved smile on my face. 

Now, it's a waiting game to find out if I made the Olympic team.  They name two American women to the mountain bike team on June 15th.  I'm trying not to think about it too much.  I did the best I could under the circumstances and hopefully it will be enough.  As for now, I am absolutely decompressing in Vermont with some time at home (finally!).  Jojo threw me an amazing surprise birthday party in La Bresse, France complete with all of my friends on the circuit and a decadent french chocolate birthday cake.  It was amazing.  Then, I came home and my sister, Sabe, threw me another surprise birthday party with my Vermont and Middlebury college friends.  There was croquet, a delicous taco dinner, and a homemade german chocolate cake (my favorite...my sister has baking skills).  I feel so lucky and loved. The kickoff to my twenty ninth year has been one of the best yet.  Let the decompression, training, and Vermont adventures continue.  Next, it's onto the hometown world cups (Mount Saint Anne, Quebec and Windham, NY) and then onto U.S Nationals in Sun Valley, Idaho.  It's going to be a great month.

Thank you so much for all of my support and the cheers sent my way.  I wouldn't have this opportunity without it. THANK YOU.

Fingers and toes crossed,

Lea

 Training with my sister, Sabe, in Vermont.  So happy
 Jojo and I visited our friend, Schreib, and her pygmy goats on her farm.  I'm sold. 
My surprise Vermont birthday party.  The ideal Vermont evening and lawn for some croquet
 On second thought, the lawn needed some cutting. My croquet game face
 Surprise Birthday Party!  Awesome!

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