What a heartbreaker!

My awesome travel buddies Sandra(L) and Mical (R). We shared the backseat of a very well packed subaru for the 4 hr+ trip from MSA to St Felicien. The Hadley brothers commandeered our ship and are responsible for the efficient use of space demonstrated in this pic.

I’m flying home from what was definitely a career best performance for me. Still flying in my head with more than a little disappointment mixed in. I finally got that great call up I was striving for being ranked 22 on the World Cup circuit, but with Fullana and Dahle missing I was wearing plate 20. I had done 2 days on St Felicien’s course and was feeling good. It had been raining on and off the last 3 days, but the course was holding up well. Even though it was littered with roots and predominantly single track, traction was awesome with my Kenda Karmas. Everyone was talking about how fun the course was, how much work organizers had put into the event and how spectator friendly the course was.

My only trepidation headed into the event was trying to pass in the long sections of single track. Our B&B hostess had prepared Sandra, Mical and I a delicious oatmeal breakfast by request and my parents had arrived in town the evening before to cheer me on and take on Feedzone duties. Best Mom and Dad ever!

The gun went off and 78 women charged from the line. It was a bit slow going on the loose gravel, but by the time it turned upwards I saw my hole shot as I deeked out onto the grass beside the road taking the steeper, but traffic free line. I came through the start finish in the top 20 only to loose 5 or more spots on the first switchback climb out of the start as someone in front of me laid their bike down and the girls behind me got off and ran, but I was caught in the tangle. I gained some spots back through the feedzone and tried to be patient through the woods making decisive passes when the opportunity arose. The laps went smoothly and I settled into a hard rhythm. I continued to move up posting the 5th fastest lap 2 and the 4th fastest lap 3. From top 15 to top 10 and within 1 minute and closing on top 5 and a world cup podium. I felt awesome. I was riding cleanly and consistently and being fed reports that Chinese rider Ren Chengyuan was fading fast in front of me. 6th position was well within reach. Lap 4 of 5 and with about 1.5 km of hilly terrain to go my left leg flung from my crank. I looked down to see my pedal stuck to my cleat. I’m sure my jaw dropped as I stared in shock at the pedal that should still be attached to my crank. I couldn’t believe it. This shouldn’t happen during the best ride of my life to that point.

I was able to get the pedal off my shoe and tried to thread it back on. No luck it kept catching on the threads and stalling. I cleaned it out and metal shavings came away and a piece of crank thread was missing. I started to run, but realized how big a run I was in for and the women were streaming by me. I stopped again, tried again, but with no 8 mm I wasn’t having any success. I finished the lap with a combination of running, 1 legged pedaling and the sketchiest descending I’ve ever done. Descending with your seat up, 1 pedal and no ability to stand up or keep the pedal up was definitely more than a little harry. I came through the start finish and carried on to the tech zone. Shimano as title sponsor was waiting to help me out. Joey took control and with an 8 mm and some manipulation got my pedal back in. After loosing 10 minutes I was back on course for 1 final lap. I rode a strong final lap and worked my way back to 30th, but this was obviously a very disappointing finish for me.

I crossed the line composed, but seeing the looks of sympathy on everyone’s faces made me breakdown. I got only a couple pedal strokes further before UCI doping control was by my side chaperoning me until I was reading to be tested. “But I was tested yesterday: I said. It appears it didn’t matter as yesterday it was the Canadian centre for Ethics in Sport and today the UCI. I then had News crews approaching me to get my story and I was able to collect myself. 1 hr after the race and I still hadn’t had a moment to myself to go over what had happened in the last couple hours. I was disappointed to say the least, but my body was in one piece, my legs are fast and I was confident. A phone call to Keith helped me put things in perspective and focus on how wicked the first 3.5 laps were!!!

Sandra had a career best World cup finishing 21st and Mical rode strong on a borrowed frame finishing 26th. Kiara still hurting from her crash at MSA finished just outside top 20 and Wendy Simms 29th. We hung out to watch the men’s race, being able to watch a lot of the race right from the day lodge. It was fun cheering on all the guys with Ricky, Kabush and Seamus finishing in the top 21.

After the races we headed out for some grub. Sandra found out to her dismay that a Calzone Marco had spaghetti and meatballs inside, but the rest of us made out okay. A stop for Ice cream gave us the energy needed to pack up our bikes and get prepped for an early morning wakeup.


Dallas said…
You did awesome babe!
I was watching Mical's and your races closely from home on Canadian Cyclist and Pedal Sites. And gotta say, I think you could have WON that Race.
keep up the good work Catherine.

Anonymous said…
AWESOME WORK! Chin up. You've proven you can be up there with the best in the world. There's no doubt in my mind, you will be up there again!
I wish I had your skill, ability and talent. Keep rolling and kick some ass at Pan Ams.

your cali canuck buddy!