Having not raced since the Bend USGP in early December I needed some sort of tuneup race before Worlds on February 3rd. The smart people at Cincinnati Cyclocross realized that many riders were in a similar situation and that there was an opportunity to put on a UCI race the week before Worlds and attract many top riders who normally wouldn’t attend a January cross race in Cincinnati. The Kings International was born and an impressive list of top ranked pros signed up including the current World Champion and Belgian cross star Niels Albert.
Coming into the Kings race my biggest priority was not to get injured which is never a race winning attitude in cross. I wanted to get in a hard effort, ride a course at speed, and shake off the cobwebs before worlds. I accomplished all of those things and my conservative cornering on the slippery mud covered frozen course didn’t help my lap times but I still finished a respectable 15th less than six minutes behind race winner Albert.
On Monday it was off to Louisville. A city or at least our little corner of it was buzzing with the anticipation of Worlds. The Canadian Team was extremely well organized and booked the whole team into the closest hotel to the venue, breakfast is the morning is like an olympic village. Because of out proximity to the venue I was able to check out the course and help out some of the Canadian masters racers as they competed in their qualifying heats for Masters Cyclocross World Championships which are happening this week. They raced well but are worried about deteriorating course conditions for their championship races.
Cyclist often talk about the weather but here in Louisville it is a hotter topic than usual and for good reason. Yesterday it was comfortable to be outside in a t-shirt and by tomorrow it is supposed to drop well below freezing. Add to that the fact that many people including myself were awoken by the wail of tornado sirens last night at four in the morning. The wind and rain last night was pretty spectacular and the threat of tornados was real enough that some teams such as the British team were forced to evacuate their rooms and move to safer parts of their hotel. The adventure continues. World Championships in four days.