It is has been quite a while since my last update. Partly because I have been procrastinating and partly because I don’t really feel like I have much new positive stuff to talk about.
Racing cyclocross in Europe is hard, incredibly hard. I have been struggling with sickness pretty much all season and the races haven’t shown me any mercy. I had some lofty goals for this European campaign and I fell short on all accounts.
Despite being disappointed and frustrated with my results I am still able to take some positives away from this trip.
Based on my strong results earlier in the season I was given the opportunity to represent Canada at the 2012 Cyclocross World Championships in Koksijde Belgium. It has been a number years since worlds were in Belgium. Plus with Koksijde being one of the most popular and spectator friendly course everything was lining up for a truly spectacular event.
After the end of the Christmas race block ending January 1st preparing for worlds should have been my only priority. Unfortunately I was burnt out on Belgium and feeling stale. A quick trip to London was planned with American Jeremy Durrin and we were soon experiencing a change of scenery and were back among english speaking people. Months of not being able to understand what people are saying gets old after a while.
Back in on the mainland I raced the Lievin World Cup sick. Despite having trouble breathing the race started ok but crashed on the third lap sapped the last of my waining motivation. Rolled around to finish my placeholder position of 51st.
Followed that ride up with a visit to the Doctor whose diagnoses was that I was just fatigued and run down. He prescribed doing some heat stress workouts on the trainer to try and boost adrenaline production.
I wasn’t emotionally invested in the Hoogerheide World Cup with Worlds the following weekend. Fortunately the heat stress workouts seem to he helping and I felt way better on the bike, still didn’t get a great result but the sensations were heading in the right direction.
The Tuesday after Hoogerheide there was an article in the paper saying that over forty thousand tickets had already been sold for the Koksijde Worlds. Pre-riding the course on Friday there were as many spectators as you would get at a UCI race in the US and the venue already had an electric buzz.
I was Canada’s sole representation in the elite races so I was the only one racing Sunday. Support from the Canadian Team was good and my equipment was dialed in. The Canadian Junior and U23 riders having raced the day before were wearing flags and bouncing off the walls. They were getting me pumped up.
The race itself is the closest thing I will likely ever get to riding up a mountain top finish at the tour de France and having the sea of fans part as I ride through. With over sixty thousand spectators packed around a tight course of less than three kilometers the track itself was the only open ground. Just before the start I really notice the crowd, the noise, and the excitement. During the race itself it pretty much just felt like any other race. I was healthy and riding well pushing it hard over the climbs and hammering the straights in my big ring, unfortunately so was everyone else. Through an unbelievable show of dominance the seven rider Belgian team swept the top seven positions. The Belgian riders were unreal in the sand and put close to a minute into me every lap and I was unfortunately pulled well before the end of the race. My official result was fifty first yet again, not the result I had hoped for but I still came away from the race reasonably happy simply because for the first time in months I was fit and healthy.
I considered having World Champs marked the end of my Cyclocross season, but figured the GVA in Lille would be a fun bonus race. The circuit in Lille is a fun course and the sub-zero temperatures made for some frozen and fast racing. The race went reasonably well for me but confirmed that it is was time to call it a season.
Heading to Turkey now with my brother for a few weeks of hiking and time off the bike but I am already excited to start riding and racing racing again.