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Redden On The Road

May 31, 2003 (Ft. William, Scotland) – Cross Country Mountain Bike World Cup #2. Going to Scotland was a very exciting and rewarding experience! Not only had I never been to Scotland before, but I knew much work had gone into the courses and we were in for a treat!  Plus, with last week's results, I now lacked a good grasp on who my new 2003 competition was.  Were they as fast in the woods as they were on the road?  Could they actually race tight, technical i.e.: real mountain bike courses?  Would they even make the trip to northern UK? These were all questions that lead to my excitement and anticipation of the upcoming world cup!

After 14 hours of travel, Ian (team mechanic), Judy (team therapist) and I, found our small (W.T.) villa.  My team-mate, Liam, would join us later in the week.  Ryder Hesjedal went home to Victoria, BC to train and Mary and Walker were training in Colorado.  So, it was up to Liam and I to hold the Blueberry colours of Subaru/Gary Fisher!!

The course was one of the best environmentally friendly courses I've ever been privileged enough to ride.  It had the effort and thought of a world championship or Games course!  Even if it had poured rain for a week, the course would have maintained itself!  Although, I'm glad we didn't have to test that theory, as it was warm and sunny the entire weekend.

OK, enough fluff.  The Race:

Lap 1 of 4 started up a road climb to the first technical, singletrack descent.  We started like a string of racehorses and as girls were flying uncontrollably off the road, I kept my combative attitude, but couldn't help wondering what they were doing…  I unfortunately got caught in a crash with Marie Helen Promont (Oryx), but squeezed through unscathed, entering the single track somewhere around 15th.  By the start of the second lap I had worked my way up to the top ten. The next two laps were fairly uneventful and as I was so focussed on my race and keeping the throttle fully open, I don't even really know what happened. I believe I moved up to as high as 7th, finally finishing the 35km race in 10th. Meanwhile at the front of the group, Gunn-Rita Dahl, Norway, was leading the push with Sabine Spitz, Germany, and Irina, Russia in a very tight hunt. The finish, apparently, was extremely close with Gunn managing the win by only eight seconds over Sabine and 12 seconds over Irina.  Marie Helen came back from her crash, passed me on the 4th lap and finished 9th.  A very spectacular result, especially leading up to the next world cup in Mt. St. Anne, Quebec on 28,29 June!  Kiara Bisaro, Gears Racing finished a strong 20th, Alison Sydor, Trek/VW and Trish Sinclair, Gears Racing also finished the race with valuable UCI points.

Liam also had a brilliant race, finishing 18th.

Interest Notes of Scotland:

– Many of my new 2003 competition were “challenged” by the technical nature of the course.  This was evidenced by the fact that there were four North Americans in the top 12, compared to last week where there were…none!
– The area of Ft. William reminded me of British Columbia.  Beautiful trees, very lush and technical race courses. – There were many spottings of Men in Kilts.  And, “no”, I didn't ask what they were wearing underneath….
– The Scottish people in the Ft. William area were extremely friendly and considerate…as long as you don't make them mad….then look out!!
– Scottish whiskey is especially smooth!  Especially when shared with good friends!  🙂

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Redden On The Road

May 26, 2003 – A week after racing in California the North American contingent found themselves competing across the Pond in St. Wendel, Germany. Many miles and hours on the plane gave us a very different race venue. St.-Wendel is traditionally the highest spectated and attended race on the entire MTB circuit. Spanning the weekend, there were easily 40,000 spectators, all with noise makers and starting lists, yelling out competitors names.

The men's race, which is limited to 175 racers, had a whopping 230 entrants. Saturday saw a shortened qualifier race for the entrants out of the top 125 place ranking. The women's race was also well attended with 96 starters! Another big difference in the venue was the weather conditions. We went from 7,000 ft elevation with dry heat to sea level and humid, rainy thick mud! I have to say, after spending the previous three weeks at elevation, I could feel every molecule of oxygen entering and sticking in my lungs….ahhhhh, what a feeling!

The Subaru/Gary Fisher Team sent a small contingent to the spring European world cups this year. Liam Killeen (UK), Ryder Hesjedal and Chrissy Redden (Canada), would compete with Ian Moore and Judy Phleger supporting as team mechanic and team Soigneur. Small, but sweet! The rest of the team, Mary Grigson (Australia), Walker Ferguson (USA), and Tyler Pilger (team manager) stayed in America to compete in the Iron Horse Classic in Colorado.

Women's Race

The women's race was a five lap race on mostly rolling double track and single track trails through the forests. Because of the constant rain showers all week the course was slick and definite lines became faster. I was feeling the excitement and adrenaline of having 40,000 screaming spectators at the start! We started on a stadium track, and after 3/4 lap left the stadium, and like a wedge of swans, did a quick parade lap around a grass field, through the traditional beer tent, entered the stadium to give our onlookers in the stands a show, then started the first of five laps. Italy's Annabella Stropparo led the field with a very demanding pace, then was matched by Alison Sydor (Trek/VW), as we crested the first climb. I managed to stay in contact with the top 10 for the first two laps, then was distracted with my feed bottle for say…..10 seconds, and lost five spots. No kidding, it was that fast, that aggressive and that tight of a race. The reigning World Champion, Gunn-Rita Dahl, (Meridia) won the race with a commanding 2:33 lead over Germany's Sabine Spitz, and Russia's Erina Kalentieva. The top north American women were Alison Dunlap (Luna) and Alison Sydor in 12th and 15th. I managed a 20th place, but know that I had a good race and realize that the flight over and the climate change took its toll on me today. Two other Canadian women took the trip also, Marie Helen Promont (Oryx) finished just behind me in 22nd and the young and talented Martina Feldman (Canada) finished the race in 76th! I'm looking forward to a couple good days of training in Germany then a good race at World Cup #2 in Ft. Williams, Scotland!!

– The meal choice of German spectators is a fool long sausage in the
smallest bun you've ever seen. (No sense filling up on bread, right?)
– Riding through the beer tent every lap allows the frenzied spectators to
recuperate in-between yelling and cheering….a good thing!
– The sport of Mountain Bike Racing is very alive and very well!
– A race consisting of many small, fast loops creates a lot of excitement
and entertainment for the many spectators!
– There were a lot of girls ahead of me today that I've never heard of, nor
can I pronounce their names (yet.) Must be the year before the Olympics….

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