The weekend of January 8-9th is National Championships weekend on the Cyclocross Calendar. Canada had their Nationals back in November so I used the weekend off from racing to take a much needed break. My Aunt and her family live in Switzerland so I took four days away from the bike to spend some time in the Alps and mentally recharge. It was great to visit with my cousins Simon and Alexis for an activity filled visit with lots of sledding, hiking, hockey, and tennis.
Back in Belgium it was straight to business. With only three weeks till World Championships the plan was to do two weeks of hard training with a one week taper to peak for Worlds. Unfortunately this meant training through the Pont-Chateau and Hoogerheide World Cups. The first week of this build went as planned and included a couple long hard rides and some solid intervals. Going into Pont-Chateau I knew that I wouldn’t be fresh but with an easy day of pre-riding the day before I was optimistic.
The forty eight rider field was relatively small for a World Cup and after preriding the course I thought that it suited my strengths. My optimism for a good result was growing. The course was mostly grass with lots of elevation change and sweeping off camber corners that were a little slick. It was a super fun course to ride. I have done a few world cups this year so I think I would have know what to expect but I am always blown away by how fast the starts are. After the first couple corners Team Canada (Derrick, Shaun and myself) were off the back of the field. Derrick and I were able to work together to catch a group of six riders by the end of the lap. At the end of lap one I was pretty much at the back of the field but was only 14seconds behind the leader. I felt ok but was definitely missing my top gear. By the fifth lap I was in no man’s land by myself and was starting to crawl into the pain cave. The next five laps I suffered and despite just gutting myself on the main climb I was going painfully slow. In the end I finished 42nd and was disappointed with my result even though it took everything I had to finish were I did.
Loaded up the van after the race and started the seven hour drive home.
(Gregg + 5 riders + 10 bikes + 36 wheels + tent + bags = A very tightly packed little van)
Monday I felt horrible. No riding. Tuesday I felt worse. No riding. I went and got a blood test from the team doctor for the AM Post Sean Kelly Pro road team. Wednesday felt a little better. One hour super easy on the trainer. Results from the blood test was that I was fatigued and fighting a virus. Doc suggested I take the week very easy. Thursday was an attempted Hoogerheide course pre-ride but the course was closed due to an effort to keep the muddy course from becoming unrideable. Friday feeling a bit better but still no riding.
Hopefully all the resting will pay off and I will be ready to get after it in Hoogerheide and Saint Wendel.