Two Months in Europe – A Recap by Amy Dombroski
Amy Dombroski wraps up here ever-extending cyclocross season in style at the World Championships in Tabor, taking 14th. Read her Euro recap below and, if you missed them, her reports on the Hoogerheide, Roubaix, and Zolder World Cups. You can replay our live coverage from Saturday and Sunday and find all of our reports and photos in our 2010 Tabor Cyclocross Worlds Coverage Center.
The off-season…it reeks of glasses of wine, cookies and ice cream, gigs, skiing, late nights and mornings…for an entire WEEK! On my way to Portland for the final USGPs, then Nationals, I was intending on celebrating the close of a season with a stop at VooDoo Donuts and a lil song and dance at Dante’s. I realized that there was no way I would be able to shut it down after Nationals. I bought a flight to Belgium, unsure if I would stay for a few races, or extend the season until Worlds.
It just so happens that I absolutely love it over here, so my season was to be doubled. Each race I felt more comfortable in my surroundings and became more amped for the next mud-fest. After a few races in Belgium, I went to my UK home, where Simon and Stella took right good care of me. Snow came and came and eventually went. Finally I was able to see the real beauty of the Peak District in England and instantly fell in love. Staring down the barrel of the final three weeks until Worlds, my final preps were the Roubaix and Hoogerheide World Cups. It’s funny how build-ups to races happen…there is always more time, more time, until the big gun show is just 11 hours away, then where did all that time go? Did I do everything I could do in my power to prepare? Honestly?
After a day checking out the great city of Prague, Waldek and I crossed the border to his home of Poland. We spent three days there – getting in some proper cold-weather-training for Tabor in -8 to -10 degree Celsius temperatures. Also some proper calorie replenishment with home-made pierogies and cookies and cheesecake and potato salad and scrambled eggs and sausages galore. On one of my training days, I awoke to -18 degrees at the house. Fortunately above the cloud layer, higher in elevation, it was a balmy -10. So we drove higher above the clouds and into the mountains to drop Waldek’s dad off to rip some alpine turns, while Waldek took out the Nordic skis, and I departed from the Nordic center on my bike. All the ski-carrying people clumping around in their boots turned to stare at me in disbelief as I descended, huddling my face in a fleece neckwarmer, feeling like an ice cube on wheels. But it turned into a great interval session, as I timed each repeat to end on the Czech/Poland border. It’s not every day you get to sprint for country lines!
On Thursday, Wally and I drove to Tabor for my first scope-out of the course. I quickly realized it would be a fine balance of finesse and power, as I was frequently tanking it on black ice patches. Saturday’s recon went better, and I found course conditions more to my liking – very similar to Bend Nationals in that the ground was still hard and frozen, but sand was applied to slippy corners, making for a fairly tacky surface. However, overnight this changed again as temperatures dropped to minus-teens and some snow fell. Sunday was slick, beckoning for more sand to be applied. Start time was 11am, so even though the skies cleared and some sun began to peak, it was still early and that fine balance was on call. The morning and coupla hours leading to and through the race were a rush, and before I knew it I had a glass of wine in my hand, congratulating Joan and Bruce on the mega-ness of 2013 Worlds in Louisville.
Watching the men’s race was amazing as drunken spectators were littering the course. Stybar was incredibly smooth. I saw Sven do a face-plant, which was a relief because I had done so many and felt like a rookie. But to see his stone-faced composure, void of panic, was something to admire. Driscoll rode a wicked strong race, steadily picking people off to earn a 19th. I am now in Frankfurt, after Mo [Bruno-Roy] and Matt gave me a ride from Tabor. I am right chuffed I brought my running shoes because after walking 200m to a German pub for proper fritters, I found an amazing bike path around multiple ponds – who woulda thunk at an airport hotel? Tomorrow morning I begin my jet ride home to Colorado after almost two months on the road. I hope to not see snow on the ground, please.
Fan-flippin-tastically amaaazin trip and I am so happy those two Brits talked me into buying an outrageously expensive ticket to Brussels. It has been a trip of a lifetime and I need to thank everyone who made the season possible stateside, as well as everyone who helped me out so much when I was away from home.
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