Mountain Bike World Championships

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Fields of Wheat

Long flight home from the Czech Republic following mountain bike world championships, gives me time to write and reflect on the last week and yesterday’s race. The races go by so fast, and before I know it, the season will be winding down. It’s important to spend time reflecting on the journey, the process, the challenges, the success. Every aspect is a part of a story that I strive to appreciate and savor.

On my list of goals for this season, Mountain Bike World Championships was planned as a high priority race granted that I would again receive the invitation to attend. The team was announced about three short weeks prior to the event, and the excitement that ran through my body when I saw my name on the list was confirmation that I would/should be attending.

I got to the logistics planning right away, as I knew that accounting for Layla would be a little more of a challenge with my mom out of town at my family reunion and Nelson working night shift during the week that I would be in the Czech Republic. In the end, I booked Layla a ticket on my mom’s flight and sent her to my family reunion in California. She was giddy with excitement for the full 3 weeks leading up to her trip. She is growing up so fast; excited to be going on an airplane like her mom, and excited to bring me back a “surprise” (I always bring Layla back a little something after each time being away).

Proceeding the World Championships, I had raced a block of four marathon distance races including the Epic Rides series and Marathon Nationals. My last cross country race had been Sea Otter, two months prior, and although my training was dialing in to XC racing again, I was a bit concerned that I would be rusty with the intensity of such a race as the XCO World Championships. Regardless, I was absolutely thrilled to be able to attend.

Nove Mesto was a sleepy little town in the country, surrounded by green rolling fields and lots of farming.

Team USA stayed at a little quaint hotel a short spin from the venue. Only my second European race and second time traveling there, my body seemed to handle the travel better than last year, and I felt good for multiple days leading into the race. Meeting back up with Chloe for the first time since Whiskey 50 was great, and I was fortunate to have her to do some course recon and hot laps with in preparation.

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Chloe helped me choose to bring my Pivot Mach 429, as her past experiences in Nove Mesto confirmed the course was greatly suited for a dually. I was definitely happy with this choice, as the track was rough with a lot of roots on the climbs and descents, not to mention the rock gardens.

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By the time race day arrived I was more than ready to attack the battle in front of me. Of the nearly 70 starters, I was number 51, and second to last row call up. Accumulating points to move up in start position is a process that requires attending races where I can earn UCI points, specifically world cup races. It takes time and consistency. Within the first 30 seconds of the race, I navigated my way around a girl who sadly broke her chain, as well as a nasty crash, while I’m pretty sure by that point I was in dead last as we headed into the start loop.

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Heading into the start loop, my position was not looking good. 

Even after warming up for 40 minutes, the intensity was shocking to my body as I fought to move up before the single track began. The first couple of laps felt congested with traffic, as the race began to sort itself out. I was steadily moving up, and as I headed into the 3rd full lap of 5, my body started to respond to the effort that I was asking of it. I was passing girls on each climb and gaining a few positions every lap. I was feeling good and turns out my lap times were getting faster as the race went on with my fastest lap being my last and final lap. I ended up in 32nd, only separated from the four girls in front of me by five seconds. I internally really wanted a top 25, but feel excited for 2 more world cup races this season and for the opportunity to make that happen. In all, my race was clean and I’m happy with the effort, but what I love the most about racing at this level is the challenge. I am going home ready to put in some hard work in preparation for Nationals in two weeks.

Chloe delivered an incredible performance finishing in 14th, and the USA women took home a 2nd, 11th, 14th, 15th, 30th, 32nd, and 40th and making the USA women the top ranked country for this event.

USA Cycling and Team Stans-Pivot provided the tools for a smooth race. My bike felt amazing, it just floated over the rough roots and rocks. I’m filled with gratitude to those who encourage, support, and challenge me.

2016 MTB World Championships
Rose Grant (USA)
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