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UCI World Cup #2, Houffalize, Belgium

“The UK is very different from back home, a lot of old culture, beautiful views and a TON of rain. Oh and did I mention…. COLD. I have been living in Arizona for over a year now so I am used to hot desert living. This past week in Arizona it has been around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 32.2 degrees Celsius. The past few training days I have come back completely soaked and lost. In America we have a lot of bike lanes, here there are none. The roads are very small here and I was told to train on the small single lanes which wind all over the place… oh and did I mention, I am NOT use to riding on the opposite side of the road either… Had a few close calls, especially when turning onto another road. What a fun experience this trick is and will continue to be.

So, two days after my arrival into the UK, still suffering from jet lag and culture shock, we drove overnight on Thursday to the second MTB World Cup in Belgium. I was able to experience the train ride through the Euro tunnel while still in the van…amazing and very convenient. Once out of the Euro tunnel, we drove straight to the venue, picked up our race numbers and prerode the course.

The course was a lot more technical then I was used to back in the US doing the Pro XCT series events. But it was fun and I was able to do most of the “A” lines on my new Bianchi SX2 Methanol carbon bike. Very sweet bike, which stood out during the race. Spectators kept shouting out “Bianchi” as I rode by them and my family could easily see me while they were watching the race online by the bright yellow bike.

Sunday for the World Cup race I was lined up 90 out of 93 Elite women… Yeah… fun. The race went into a steep climb where that started my walking venture for the day. With so many women on the course, most of the first lap was on foot. Finally about two laps into the race, I was clear of most of the women holding me back… I could now race. I was catching people and moving up, but then on my 4th out of 5 laps, I was pulled… so I had made it to the 76th spot. Bummed, but live and learn.

Next, we packed up and drove overnight on Sunday after the race and was back by mid-Monday morning. What a week. Fun, exciting and caught a cold!”

Report by Zephanie Blasi

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