I took a taxi to the course, which wasn’t the most cost-effective means of transportation, but eventually, I managed to get there around 3pm. The weather was amazing, 25 degrees, the sun was shining and a light breeze, that arrived from the lake, made the heat bearable.
Got my accreditation and headed off to the course immediately. The organizers were really nice and promised me a lift back to my hotel, so there was no time pressure and I had plenty of time to look around and find good spots for tomorrow.
This rather tough climb can be found not too far from the start and probably it is the most challenging climb on the course. Only the pros seemed to be able to pedal all the way up, the rest were running up as fast as they could.
I reckon there’s a UCI regulation that stipulates that organizers must provide high-pressured water for the depo area so bikes can be cleaned during the race, should a huge rainfall make things muddy. It is quite likely that the teams won’t need them tomorrow – the weather report promises a hot and dry day.
This image was taken at the most distant part of the course (i.e. distant from the race center), it is a sharp turn, preceded with another sharp turn, which makes this section a bit tricky. This young Italian rider insisted on giving me a huge smile and I didn’t protest.
Tijmen Eising, last year’s World Champ and World Cup winner practices on the course.
This poor lad wanted to power up on the aforementioned climb but after a few meters his chain broke. If you think about it, he was quite lucky, had this happened during the race, it would have been much more annoying.
Everything is prepared for tomorrow’s race. I love the organizers already, the distance between the finish line and the press center is roughly 10 meters – it’s the closest press center I’ve ever seen and it just makes everybody’s life soooo much easier. Thanks guys!
The organizers invited the journalists to a presentation but I had some time to kill so I tried to figure out what I should do tomorrow. I marked the spots on the map where I’d take pictures and tried to figure out the optimal schedule. Cyclo-cross races are different from their mountain bike counterparts as you have much less time to catch the action (40-50 mins as opposed to 2+ hours) and you have to be much more organized. As cyclo-cross races tend to have 6-9 laps, depending on the category, I created this little diagram, I assigned every spot to a certain lap. I’ve never done something like this before, it looks good, however, in the heat of the moment I might just throw the whole thing out and do something else. We’ll see tomorrow whether it works or not.
Well, the presentation wasn’t super-exciting. I mean it is possible that it was super-exciting but due to the low non-Italian speaking journalist penetration, they didn’t say a word in English, apart from the UCI head-honcho, Peter Van Den Abeele. I have to admit, I didn’t stay long.
It wasn’t just me, however, who didn’t understand a word from what was being said: Katie Compton was there as well, as one of the purpose of the presentation was to honor the champions. She was really nice when I tried to photograph her, she flashed a smile at my camera.
I was taken back to my hotel, as promised, big up for the organizers and it to my surprise, it turned out that I’m staying in the same hotel as Zdenek Stybar, the excellent Czech racer. I honestly hope that his dinner was better than mine, because if not, he’s doomed.