May 21/02 5:43 am - The Shep Report
Posted by Editoress on 05/21/02
The Shep Report
Chris Sheppard (Haro Lee-Dungarees) reports from World Cup #1
MADRID!!!! World Cup numero uno. This time round I am travelling with a group of Canucks (Dre, Seamus, Trish, Kiarra) headed by Yury our national coach with Ryder, Rollie, Chrissy, Allison travelling trade team style. I am currently sitting in an internet cafe trying to focus on writing this update. It's almost impossible to read the screen through the haze of smoke that is being exhaled from the 20 people who are smoking cheap filterless cigarettes. I think the national passtime is smoking and drinking coffee, or is it smoking and hanging out? smoking and boozing? One of the three I'm sure.
Over 25 000 spectators turned up to watch 180 riders beat the living hell out of each other on a very fast, dusty single track infested course. Start position was key but not blowing up under the blazing 30 degree sun was most important.
A lead group of nine emerged from the three minute elbowing contest they call the start the loop. Rollie, Bartman, Meirhagre, Paulison, Martinez, Fumic and Hermida were dominating the front through the whole race. From my understanding Bartman rode away from the group half way through the first lap and never looked back. The gap went up to over two minutes before it was stablised by Rollie and Paulison fighting for second. Half way through Martinez flatted and dropped out. Hermida fell off the pace with leg cramps and ended up fourth. Rollie was steady and fended off Paulison for second. Fumic fifth.
A big battle was going on for tenth. Seven rider's were vying for this spot including my team mate Seamus. His group slowly cracked weaker rider's until it was a battle of three with Shamoe coming in 13th. Ryder had a tangle on the start loop and went down in a cloud of dust, cigarette smoke and dried condoms (did I mention that the city park we were in was the red light district as well?) A painful off-day but he rode it in for 29th. Dre starting his 4th race of the season and felt the baptism of fire from the start. A colder climate next week in Belgium should bode well for his sun burnt legs.
My race was very steady. After racing in hot and humid conditions all april I felt comfortable with the day's task. I started mid field and worked up from the fifties to a three man group that represented 16th-18th with a lap to go. Started to see red dots with 15 min left, miss-judged a turn and failed in my quest to see if the fence post I was steering around would move. Thought I dislocated my shoulder. Dislocated my head and legs instead. Battled body-shock bonk with crooked bars.....lost many spots and ending up in 28th. I was very happy with my legs and also my equipment specifically my tires. I took a gamble and rode a pair of new semi-slick Maxxis tires that have a very tacky compund. Low rolling resistance helped on the flats. Off to Belgium for round two.....