World Cup XC - Fort William
Riding in the XC race puts a whole different perspective on things, and I have to say I am somewhat in awe of the people who do this kind of thing fulltime. It's very stressful ! They don't make it easy either, there are so many things you have to collect, sign on for etc, and you get called up to the start line 30 minutes before the race, great fun in freezing cold rain.
Three things that stand out from the weekend:
1. I was standing around chatting to Doug from Alpine Bikes at their stand the day before the race, with my bike all numbered up and ready to race, and got asked for my autograph by some school kids ! I have to say I wasn't very graceful, threw back my head and laughed, then recovered enough to sign their programme and ask them to cheer for me the next day. I think they had mistaken me for a proper athlete. Doug got a picture on his phone, will get that up on the blog. Actually getting handed a leaflet about drug-testing procedures by the UCI rep was another such moment, getting mistaken for a proper athlete again, but I suppose I would hang around at world class events.
2. The Chinese Womens team. They seemed to be all on their own, with no vehicle and no support, and spent the whole weekend kind of camped out at the race and washing in the public toilets. Thats dedication !! And how they knew what was going on I don't know, I was toiling and would have had no idea if more experienced riders hadn't helped me, and I speak a version of english. They did really well too.
3. Cannondale saving the day ! Full report on that soon, will finish this blog at lunch this week.