Kathy Sarvary, four-time national cyclocross champion, made the trip to Mol, Belgium to contest the UCI Masters World Championships, and came back with a win and a rainbow jersey. She sent us this trip diary of her memorable trip:
We arrived a week before Worlds, which allowed me to race in 2 local races…Saturday in Belgium and Sunday in Holland. Both days taught me volumes both by way of course conditions, racing style in Europe and subtle differences in the way the race is staged, officiated, etc.
We connected with several North American racers while in Belgium…and found the bonds developed very quickly. Connecting with these folks made it feel a little less far from home.
We had the opportunity to ride the world championship course on Thursday and Friday and that time allowed us to break the course down into sections and determine the best way to approach the tricky sections. There were several deep sand sections giving the riders heart burn and after 2 days of messing around, trying to figure out how to ride it…I decided to run it all. My mantra for the week was “screw it…just run the damned thing!” In the end, that strategy seemed to work out okay for me.
Race day greeted us with a steady rain and a tough head wind that hit us hard when we got to the beach run, but that didn’t bother me. After racing in Kansas and facing the 3 days of wild conditions…rain was a welcomed alternative. The course offered 4-5 running sections (depending on how good you were in sand riding) , 2 of which were stair obstacles and 3 long sand runs. The course was a lot of fun, a combination of technical sections, running, and horse power…it was a fair course for the cross racer.
They did have enough women for my age group (minimum of five), so they sent us out onto the course one minute behind the 40+ field. I had such a good race, I caught most of the 40+ field and when the race was over, discovered that I had finished 50 seconds ahead of the winning time for the 40+ field. Further proof that there is life after 50!
The Belgium people were warm, gracious, accommodating and friendly…the country is beautiful and the racing, although different, is loads of fun. I would do it again in a heart beat.
Lot’s of folks played an important part, in my winning the rainbow jersey…I couldn’t have done it alone. I owe each and everyone of those people, a great deal of thanks and gratitude. My coach, Tom Stevens is the guy at the top of my list…he was a master at helping me prepare and stay sharp.
I’m really looking forward to the 2008 season…and with the new “rainbow kit”, it’s going to be a challenge to race without a smile on my face.
Ciao, Kathy Sarvary
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