Drenthe World Cup

Wednesday 15th April 2009

by catherine williamson

After a week living in the luxury of my team mangers house in Luxemburg we headed up for a weekend of racing in Holland.  On Good Friday there was a 140km 1.1 cat race with all the teams for the World Cup and for extra danger a handful of club teams.  Luckily the pace was high and it spat out the ‘wobblers’.  I stayed near the front for the first lap but had to slip back a bit for the second… staying near the front of the 160 strong field is easier on the legs but I was mentally knackered!  It was a scary race and I lost count of the number of back wheel skids I had…the worse of which sent me into the field at the side attached to another girl (who wasn’t too pleased!).  The one section of cobbles split the field at the end and I came in 22nd, pleased to survive but annoyingly 2 places off 27 Euros!!  

On Saturday the race went over a 3km section of cobbles before looping round to the KOM 5 times…up a reclaimed rubbish tip!  I was chuffed to be in the front group after the cobbles but gradually more groups tagged on.  5 times up the climb though split the field apart.  It was a steep, narrow one but not long and as it lined out after groups kept getting dropped.  Again the racing was mentally draining, they all ride so close, its always fast and not been the tallest out there its slightly daunting when your on your drops and realise your head is next to someones huge quad!!  Only had one incident with someone riding into my  wheel and knocking my spokes out.  By the last lap I was in the front group, just missed the break go but came in 23rd…close again to that 27 euro but at least got my team mate into 17th.  

Monday after a day relaxing on our camp site was the World Cup.  3 cobbled sections and 3 times up the climb.  All was going well till a punture 6km from the first cobbles.  Made a mental note to practice changing a Sram wheel as it took forever even though a team mate had stopped to give me hers.  Behind the car I reached the cobbles amonst the team cars and came out of the cobbles still in the convoy and covered in a ton of dust!  I tagged onto a group which luckily caught the peleton.  I had no problems over the next cobbles and was around the front over the last section until I hit some huge bolders and puntured again.  Rode the flat (on my poor Zipp!!) then changed with a friend who happened to be standing there.  Chased again and caught a dropped group with a team mate.  Together we got them all working and again we re joined the peleton.  Staying at the front after that I missed a few more crashes and splits and going into the finish the group was a lot smaller.  A group of 6 clipped of the front in a narrow section and got just enough to stay clear.  We were a few seconds behind and I came in 18th.  Finally a top 20, means 3 UCI and World Cup points and brought our team winnings to a massive 30 euro each, not bad for 420km of racing!!  Who says theres no money in womans cycling!

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