Sunday, August 31, 2014

World Cup Finals and World Championships

 Meribel World Cup Teamwork with Annika Langvad photo: Michal Cervany
 Photo: Michal Cervany
 Top of Galibier
 Photo: Michal Cervany
 Photo: Michal Cervany
Photo: Michal Cervany

I am on the second week of an awesome european racing trip.  This season is short and sweet since I missed the whole first half so it's great to get back in Europe.  Last weekend was the world cup finals in Meribel, France.  The course was awesome, had a decent amount of climbing, and was marked with a great amount of natural features.  This is good to see in a day and age when they are building more manmade obstacles and jumps.  I started on the fourth row (which is not ideal in a mass start) so I was crossing my fingers for lady luck to be on my side.  It turns out she was for the start.  I barely missed a crash one hundred meters after the gun went off and kept on snaking my way through as many people as possible.  I found myself in the top ten faster than I thought I would, and I was excited.  I could see the leaders, I was feeling good, and I was in a solid position.  Then, moments after I passed the technical zone going into the second lap, I got a slow leak in my rear tire.  I rode it gingerly for half a lap until I could get to the next tech zone for a wheel change.  I dropped to about fifteenth, which was a bit of a bummer, but I just did the best I could do with the situation.  I hammered as hard as I could and passed as many people as possible to secure a top ten finish.  I am actually thrilled with this result as I am feeling great for the World Championships. I was able to work my way back up to tenth in a fast and very competitive field.  This is something to be excited about. 

We stayed in Meribel in the french alps for five days after the race.  We had a training schedule full of alp ice baths, patisserie sampling, and classic climbs.  Literally, my coach is the best.  Officially, on the training schedule, my coach ordered me to try two of my favorite french pastries. My coach and I really get along.  Kate Courtney, my fellow Specialized american teammate, and I adventured to one of the classic french alp climbs that is usually in the tour de france, Col du Galibier.  This was a thirty four kilometer climb and truly one of the most beautiful and amazing bike rides I've ever done.  It literally felt like the top of the world at the summit.  

Now, we are in Hafjell, Norway preparing for the World Championships next weekend.  It's like Vermont here but with more water and a lot more fish.  There's as many different types of salmon that you could ever imagine at every meal here.  It's awesome.  I race the team relay on Wednesday and the main event, the cross country world championships, is this Saturday.  Today, we had a Specialized team ride on the course with our downhillers, Aaron Gwin and Troy Brosnan.  These guys are ranked the second and third best downhillers in the world with world cup wins and world cup overall titles to their names.  We took a solid hour to analyze the best lines over the entire five kilometer course. It was so valuable to get their insight and analysis on the world championships course.  Gravity racers have a different way of looking at a trail, and it's great to open up the perspective.  I had such a blast out there today, and I'm incredibly excited about racing.  Thanks to these boys, I feel like I have the course dialed, and I'm ready to go. 

The live feed link is here. Saturday. Noon.  6 AM EST.  

Send me some fast, good vibes! Thanks for the support. 

Cheers,
Lea

 I found my spirit animal, the goat
 Psyched to be on top of another alp, La Madeleine
 Kate is psyched to be on top of Galibier








 Can you tell we were excited to be on top of Galibier after a 2.5 hr climb?  We pranced around the summit a lot 


 Bananas are my midnight snack of choice and Kate made sure that she kept this one for herself.  She honestly tried to put it in the hotel safe under lock and key


 This is how you feel after racing a world cup
 Meribel, France
Not a bad view for the week in France. Life is fantastic

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