Yippee! We are finally in Myslenice, Poland and the women have completed their 2010 world competition with today’s ride of 14 sections. Their TdN is Saturday.
Its been a bit of a rough start for Team USA, due to airline mishaps. Those team members flying out of Colorado had their original flight canceled. They finally arrived here, but their motorcycle gear did not. So, what do you do with no gear? Well, if you are Sarah Duke and its time to ride on Friday morning, you are lucky enough to have Laia Sanz loan you some trials boots and stuff. If you are one of the guys not yet under the starting gun, you tinker with your bike, meanwhile hoping the luggage shows up soon – like real soon!
All in all, the five USA riders have kept a positive outlook as their cheery faces show.
Friday was clear skies with no rain during the competition. With the course sections following the creek on the ski resort of Chelm Mountain, it was a day of challenges and some excellent performances too.
Crossing the creek in loop 2 of Section 5 found Team USA rider Caroline Allen and her bike momentarily under water, resulting in a flooded carburetor — yep, all the way over the seat. We thought she had a career change & decided to pursue a Michael Phelps Olympic swimming medal but she calmly said she “didn’t know it was that deep”.
Have no fear! The two USA minders and their gracious Polish comrade turned the brand new Gas Gas upside down creekside and proceeded to operate, with a successful outcome. Nothing like working on a new bike under pressure. Here she is just a few minutes later, in good form.
Sarah Duke told us the event seemed somewhat easier than last year’s in Italy. The end of the day found the two USA women separated by only 2 points scoring 85 and 87.
It was Great Britain’s Joanne Coles (10 points) and Rebekah Cook (7 points) taking the podium for third and second place, respectively, for today’s round. Laia Sanz was first, with a meager 3 points on round one and a perfect clean on the second loop. These same three women took the podium for the overall 2010 women’s world. It is Sanz’s tenth time to receive this title! Even so, the Queen still washes her own bike.
Opening ceremonies for the TdN were held amid pageantry in the new town sports center. Myslenice was also the site of the first TdN, 26 years ago. A short film clip showed that inaugural event had 11 countries competing on what now looks like vintage-era bikes such as Fantic (remember them???), climbing over logs and boulders in a stadium. Wow – we’ve come a long, long way since then.
As we left the ceremonies, Mother Nature started a slow steady rain – so prepare to slosh around with us on Saturday. Here’s good luck to all of Team USA for the weekend!