Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Never Give up

 Unfortunately this is how most of my day was at the first world cup in Australia photo: Michal Cervany
Photo: Michal Cervany
Sometimes it takes a little luck to put together a good
race.  Sometimes you have luck and
sometimes you don’t.  The opening World
Cup round in Cairns, Australia fell into the ladder category for me.  The race started out really well.  I was top ten going into the start loop and a
solid top ten within close reach of the leaders around the first lap.  This was absolutely crucial since the course
was comprised of a long single track climb with very few passing opportunities
so riders were pretty much frozen in the position they entered the climb until
the end of the lap. On the first descent, I made it down smoothly and safely
until the last fast part when I noticed I had a front flat.  It’s really sketchy to ride any flat tire
especially a front.  Luckily, the tech
zone was close, and I got a wheel change.
I could see the podium slip away, but remained calm and tried to push as
hard as I could.  One never knows what’s
going to happen in a race.  The race
isn’t over until I cross the finish line. I got back up and going around
twentieth position, but I was close to a big pack of girls and the top ten was
in reach.  The problem was I was stuck on
the climb and I felt like I was limited all day.  I could never really open it up and go as
hard as I can until the fifth lap.  I
finally got around the pack and could cut loose for a lap.  I was in eleventh position and excited.  A top ten would give me a good chance for a
top ten overall world cup ranking after the first three World Cups which is an
automatic Olympic qualifier. 

Then, at the bottom the descent of the fifth lap with one
lap to go, it happened again.  I got a
rear flat.  Brad, the super mechanic that
I was keeping busy all day long, changed it and I was off in fourteenth, which
was not bad considering.  Girls were
pretty much out of reach ahead of me, but I was still pleased to clock a top 15
result because the top 15 get called up in good start positions for the next
world cup.  I took the last descent easy
and smooth on purpose.  And, with about
five minutes remaining in the race, it happened again.  I absolutely couldn’t believe it.  I front flatted again.  It seemed as if I was riding over a knife
garden.   I didn’t know what was going
on.  I rode into the finish with a
completely flat front tire for the last kilometer and lost four positions.  I ended up in 19th which is
actually not bad considering all of the flat tires. 

It’s certainly frustrating, but, looking on the positive
side, my legs feel good and ready to go for a big season.  Bikes are much easier to fix than
bodies.  I much rather have a mechanical
than a biomechanical, and hopefully I got all of my bad luck out of the way for
the entire season.  Honestly, I was
bummed but trying to keep perspective.
Then, my teammate, Kate, and I had a layover for the evening in Sydney
on the way home.  We went to check out
the iconic Sydney Opera House and, while doing so, realized that Vance Joy was
playing there that night.  Our jaws
dropped.  We immediately asked if there
were tickets, but it was completely sold out.
Then, Kate went total millennial on this mission and somehow; found
internet, discovered the Craigslist of Australia (Gumtree), and started
messaging everyone on there about Vance Joy tickets.  One man, also named Brad like our mechanic,
had two tickets that he had promised to some others, but they hadn’t shown
up.  He was meeting them at the Opera
House.  So we ran down to his car and
gave him all of Kate’s Australian cash world cup winnings.  Fifteen minutes after we had found out a
Vance Joy concert was starting in an hour and a half, we had tickets.  It was an amazing waterfall of luck and
circumstance to be able to get those tickets.
I’ve been trying to intersect his tour this year, and to be able to see
him in one of the most iconic venues in the world was simply unbelievable.  And, poof, just like that, all of the flat
tires and bad luck and frustrations were gone.
It was an amazing way to cap off the trip, and now I’m heading back to
Santa Cruz for a week to wrap up my spring training trip and head back to
Vermont.  I’m excited and very motivated
for the next two world cups in Europe at the end of May.

Also…Kate and I were Quizzed on VitalMTB.  Give it a watch!

Onwards and upwards. 

 Cairns had beautiful beaches minutes away
 Photo: Michal Cervany
 There's nothing like a big breakfast the morning after a world cup to bring you around

Very nice place for an easy spin if I do say so myself
 The Vance Joy concert
 Kate and I were quizzed on VitalMTB. Link above
 Sydney Harbor
 Kate said, "I am Vance Joyful right now"