By Dexter Alumni /Biker Adam Craig, Olympic hopeful: So, a while ago, whilst hanging out riding bikes in France, I took a situation that had handed me lemons and made lemonade. I’d been out for a real long, real nice ride, which I had eaten delicious fried eggs before departing on. When I returned I noticed what I nice job the morning sun had done warming our apartment for my return. Turns out it was the kitchen stove I left on that warmed the apartment, for five hours… Lemons.
But, a warm pan and burner isn’t to be wasted, so I went ahead and substituted a turkey veggie melt for the usual (boring) recovery drink… Lemonade.
To be honest with you, and myself, I was feeling a bit lemons all week in Andorra. The combo of a whole bunch of training in the last couple weeks, a fairly hard (even though I tried to go easy) race last weekend and reintegration into proper team and race life after utopian nothingness for a while just kind of had me a bit run down. Lemons. But once I got out on the race course on Wednesday to check it out for the first time, as part of a tire testing session with Michelin, I knew I had to get out the juicer and add some sugar… Top notch track. Tons of fun fast rooty rocky proper singletrack, a bunch of thought provoking climbing up reasonable grades, and the obligatory grassy ski slope grunt climb for good measure, and to keep the UCI happy… Although it had been raining a continually impressive amount for the first half of the week, the track was still pretty firm and everything still rode really well, just a bit more interesting… Lemonade. The skies would continue to clear the rest of the week, giving us a chance to marvel in the solidly spectacular scenery available in the Andorran Pyrenees Mountains. The race site was perched on a ridge about 700 meters above the valley floor, sitting at just about two grand. So we had the interesting prospect of racing a punchy, power oriented world cup course in all it’s splendor at fairly high altitude (6500 feet). We’ll see how that goes…
We’re going to stretch our analogy a bit here. You see, to make lemonade, you have to squeeze the juice out of the lemons. Well, to enhance my (and my trusty East Coast compatriot Lea Davison) chances of lemonade on Saturday, I resorted to a really brutally cold version of the ice bath. All this rain had the local rivers still swollen, mostly with recent snowmelt at this point, so we climbed down the retaining wall of a bridge and dunked our lower extremities for a few. Very refreshing. A good dinner, one of Elke’s award winning massages and another twilight ice bath and pretty much every step toward lemonade had been taken.
The only thing that could have helped more did. It rained all morning. Mint. Unfortunately, when the gun went off at 2pm under clearing skies, I still had lemons for legs. Fortunately, my wise choice to run the Anthem Advanced let me play a fairly fun game for most of the race, that being staying just ahead of whoever was around on the climbs, then riding the (awesome) descents a bit irresponsibly fast to reestablish my gap. This plan worked to get the lemon legs into the top 10 for the first half of the race. Lemonade? Perfect. But then the lemon juice got a bit acidic, or was that lactic acid? Either way, it got harder to keep from getting overtaken on the climbs and I eventually fell back to 16th. Oh well, not too bad for lemons I guess. Our fellow American Todd Wells turned in a solid ride for 6th, and his young South African teammate Burry Stander almost win the thing, Christoph Sauser just barely caught him on the last lap for the win.
Our Australian Downhill boys were in the house this weekend, providing entertainment in the evening and some serious rut roosting during the day. They would finish on the same 2:46 second, Amiel in 30th and Rando in 38th. 20th through 60th was all on that same second. World Cup DH racing is TIGHT these days… Good work boys, hopefully some road riding on our infamous Team Giant folding bike, the Halfway, this week in Scotland will sort them out another second or three.
I’m planning on resting up and being professional this week, as I’m pretty sure I’ve got a good race in me somewhere these days… Another step closer to making the Olympic Team though, so that’s always good. I’ve got a sum of 38 from three races with Todd just ahead with 34, I think. The next Gringo is a ways off that, so hopefully luck and health holds out for a couple more weeks. We’ll see…