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Tonight is Reno Cross, the new edition of Cross Vegas. Always considered a big race by many, because everyone from the industry is there watching. I am a bit nervous, yet deeply excited. This will be my first time racing “against” my friends form the CLIF Pro Team. I know how strong Katerina is, I know how smart she races and how skilled she is. I know, because over the past 5 years, she has been generous enough to share most of her racing thoughts and a lot of her racing wisdom with me.
Although we have raced against each other before, I never saw her as a rival. If we ever ended up riding away together in a race, I was stoked to be ahead with her, rarely thinking of how I could beat her…except during the 2017 BC Bike Race where we battled it out for 7 days in a row, but where I was never able to have the best of her.
So I am excited for a battle tonight. I know I need to bring my A game, and maybe even a little bit more than that, if I want to have a shot against her.
Here’s how the race played out...
25 mins before the start: David’s phone rings. I’m standing next to him. The alarm system is going off at home. The police is going to the house. “Okay. Well, nothing we can do about it from 5000km away.”
Continue warm up on the FeedBack Sports trainer.
Cleaning lady calls. She explains that she forgot the alarm code, etc. All I hear is blah blah blah. “Okay thanks for calling. I’m racing in 20 mins, I gotta go”.
A lot of chaos happening around. I’m kind of loosing my sh*t here.
Get off the trainer. Bathroom. Take 2 mins to calm down. Get in a good mindset. “Ok. Good to go.”
Normal pre-start chit chat. Velonews interview with Fred Dreier. I have no clue what I said. Sorry Fred.
On the line. Waldek (CLIF Team manager) jokes to Katerina and I: “Give ‘em hell Katka. Especially to that one”. Wink. He generously picks up my jacket.
BEEEEEPPPPP. Off we go.
Fast start. Get hole shot. “Sweet!” “Stay calm”
Get to the barriers. “SO MANY CAMERA FLASHES. I don’t see anything.”
Phew, made it safely.
“Feels like no one is following me…?” Turn around. No one is right there.
“There must have been a crash.”
It’s windy out. “Go fast Maghs, but don’t burn too many matches riding alone in the wind. They will come back.”
After a lap. 10 secs gap. “They will surely come back.” “Go fast, but not TOO hard.”
After 2 laps. New strategy: “Go fast in tail wind, tempo in head wind.” “They will come back, but hopefully they’ll have to work for it.”
After 3 laps: Gap is growing. “I may actually have a shot at this.”
“Okay. Let’s try this for real. Go really fast for 1-2 laps.”
For 3 next laps: All I can think is: Smooth. Calm. Next turn. Stand up. Calm. Smooth. Change gears. Calm.
Gap is growing. People are cheering. “This is cool!” “No stay focus Maghs.”
Finally, I cross the finish line to take my first win at the Interbike race! “Yeeehaaaa!!!”
In the end, I was pretty excited to take the win at this first edition of RenoCross. I just had a smooth ride and was able to stay calm. Unfortunately, I later learned that Katerina crashed on the barriers on the first lap and broke her handlebar, which certainly did not help her.
It was really special to celebrate the win with all my friends and all the people from the industry who support me. That’s why the Interbike race is so special. Everyone is there to celebrate with you.
Definitely a night to remember! Thank you, Reno Cross :)