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  • Mariske Strauss

XCO WC #4 – Les Gets, FRANCE

Doing the racing Cha-Cha




This past weekend was the 4th WC weekend, held in Les Gets France… over Bastille weekend. The crowds were superb the weather quite warm and the views, o my goodness endless views. Just over the mountain from the race venue is to most spectacular pass with a gorgeous sight of Mont Blanc in the distance. There’s just something about a huge snowcapped mountain that makes one feel small.

Now I had just come off a massive high when I raced myself to my best ever result in an elite world cup. We set off to arrive in Les Gets early Monday morning as it was about a 9hr car drive to get there from Andorra. About 20km from our final destination we had reached the foothills of the Alps and having been stuck in a car all day I decided to get Harvey out on the road ;). Bikes aren’t meant to be driven around in a car, so we set off to our base camp for the next week.


Everything went smoothly except for being a little stiff I was excited for another weekend of racing. Before I knew it Friday, I was busy warming up for the Short track. Not sure why but the week felt a little rushed, anyway my start on the short track was a bit of a disaster. I missed the pedal on the gun which delayed my moving forward when the rest of the woman did and in turn further down the pack than I aimed for. This of course was crucial as the track in Les Gets was incredible dry dusty and tight. After the first turn the field was basically forced in single file and man the pace was something else. Little mistakes can cost you dearly, but I still managed to work it up to finish in a 21st position with still meant a 3rd row start from Sunday.


As quickly as the dust settled from the Friday excitement, rollers started humming their usual tune for call up was approaching for the main event. Gun went off and with some prior practice I made sure this time I would get those cranks turning ASAP. I worked myself up nicely on the first climb but something was off. My body was fighting me and unfortunately when you are 1% off of your pace you will get swallowed up whole in a WC race. I started drifting back and with everything I had I tried to at least just maintain. It became a survival more than a race and for me this was the most disappointing part. I knew from the previous week what I am capable of and to now drift back was quite upsetting, but this is racing for you. I still managed a 24th with all things considering is still a solid result. The key, I have found, is to take what you can from the event and remember that taking one leap forward and two little steps back is not failure, it’s a dance. So here I am moving to my own Cha-Cha.


Now I am busy heading back to South Africa where we have SA Champs this coming weekend at Thaba Trails, with some work I am confident we can take the next jump forward J. Thanks again for all the support and especially my Coach, Mechanic for sticking it out with me. Then also as always my loving and supportive family, see you soon.

Onward and upwards!

M

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