Since we’re here in New York, I’ll cut straight to business – the world cup round in U.S.A. needs a new face. The race seems to be well organized and promoted, yet since the first year Windham hosted the world cup in 2010, I personally don’t feel that it really channels the “big show” of which cycling events in U.S. can deliver. For people which Windham is their only perspective of world cup racing, I bet it seems like an inadequate sport event, lacking spirit. It sure does seem that way to me, and perhaps other racers who participated in other world cups around the globe. Now, don’t get me wrong – I had a great time racing my bike there, the course is old school cross-country fun, the management and organization of the event were great, but besides the fact there were about 75 European with me on the start line, I didn’t feel a world cup spirit.
I’ll be specific when talking “world cup spirit” – first of all, the people at the venue. Not only the amount of people standing along the course tape, but also their enthusiasm and cheering throughout the day (which was low on race day). Secondly, the course must be changed. Don’t get me wrong again, the course is fun, old school and great for my abilities, but the course is almost identical to its past two editions and it is far from spectator friendly. Need an example for a spectator friendly course? Check Mount Morris, Wisconsin US Pro XCT race in August. Sick. One more thing, gotta bring up the venue spirit somehow – strider race, car show, mud bikini contest, whatever. There should always be something extra going on race day.
Race day for me was exciting, it’s been a year since my last world cup (not counting the last world championships), so I had a “back of the bus” start with plate #72 (out of 90ish?). After a pretty lousy first lap, I stepped up the game, moved up a few spots every lap and finished at 47th position. A continuous trend of progression at the Windham world cup over the years – 56th in 2010 and 51st in 2011. At this rate, I might hit the podium at around 35. It seems to be the golden age for Americans at world cups anyway.
I learned two things on race day – the first, hot moms marshalling the course while breast feeding their baby are a distracting, yet still welcomed, sight. Secondly, never over dose with those “organic” laundry detergents, that will result in a foaming chamois symptom. No more comments here.
One of the best privileges of being a pro biker and racing around the world is the people and connections you make along the way. I have been lucky to be hosted by many friends and families for race weekends and even weeks at a time. I spent the last week at a family friends house, the Dekrey. That is the second year they are hosting me for the Windham world cup. I cannot explain in words their lovely hospitality and the great times I’ve come to spend with them every time. Starting from their quiet and lovely house, to their great healthy eating and spending time together every night. It already became a tradition that every time I come to NY, we kayak the Hudson River together. I would like to thank them personally for being such great friends and I look forward to meet them every year – so thank you Al and Sue !
And there is more to add here on meting people… I started my travels back to Durango and I thought it will never end – two hours drive to the airport 6am, delayed flight, two changes of itinerary, two missed flights over delays, cancelled flight, night over in Denver, another 5am wake up, you get the point… I ended up flying to Cortez, an hour away drive from Durango, on a tiny propelled airplane with two rows, one sit for each row. I have to say that by the end of the first day of those travels, I almost lost my nerves, but thanks for an awesome person I met, who was in the same trouble as me, we both held each other sane and happy for the trip/adventure. Thank you Summer! You’re the best!
Here’s a photo of the tiny airplane, plus a really big dude… he was taking the middle seat too.
Good luck to all my American friends racing nationals in Sun Valley this weekend, I’ll be training in Durango and leave for my nationals that will take place on July 20th in Mishmar Ha’Emek, Israel !! I’m looking forward to claim my 10th title as Israel national champion, from Cadets to Elite category!
Every year I go to Windham world cup, it is a tradition now that I kayak on the Hudson River
Sportade?! that’s a rare and refreshing drink!
Hanging out with a couple of Jamis fans!