Last week we set off to the Czech Republic for the first two World Cup races of the season. I was looking forward to the challenging race courses and the chance to compete against the toughest competition in the world. In addition to our stays at the race venues, we had booked a studio apartment in Prague and planned to spend the five days between the two races training and being tourists. It bears repeating that this trip would not have been possible without the amazing support of our sponsors. Thanks, Bob's Red Mill! Thanks, Seven Cycles.
We arrived in Prague a bit exhausted from lack of sleep on the overnight flight. I can’t imagine the parents or the child that cried the entire plane trip felt much better. We stumbled our way through the airport happy to have all of our luggage (two bags, two bikes, and ten wheels!) arrive safely. We grabbed the rental car and navigated our way to the apartment we had rented.
In spite of the maze-like cobbled streets of Prague, our arrival was a smooth one. Matt unpacked the bikes and I headed out for a quick ride. After a little rest, we crossed the Charles Bridge for dinner at one of the many vegetarian restaurants in the city. I opted for the vegetarian take on a classic Czech goulash.
The next day, we packed the car back up and headed to Plzen or Pilsen, home of Pilsner Urquell beer and the site of the first World up race of the season.
It’s always cool (and motivating!) to hear people cheering your name. It’s especially cool when you’re racing in the Czech Republic and there are people cheering for you. Partway through the race I heard someone yell, “Happy Birthday, Mo!” It was last week. Thanks, guy!
With every passing lap, I was riding stronger and stronger. I was able to pass enough riders to get myself into 20th position by the finish. I was hoping for a top 15 and knew that I’d have to improve my start next week to get into the mix.
In between the World Cups, Matt and I stayed in Prague. Our studio apartment was in the Malá Strana section of Prague with the castle (the Hrad) looming above us each time we left the building.
Although training was a big part of my daily routine, Matt and I still managed to experience Prague by exploring a new section of the city or visiting a museum nearly every day. Highlights included Petrin Hill, the John Lennon Wall, the Kampa Museum and the Museum of Young Art.
The weather had turned very cloudy and chilly for the start of the race but there wasn’t a drop of rain to be had. The course was hard-packed and the race would be smoking fast.
Off the line I settled in the top 15 and spent the first three laps swapping places back and forth with several other riders as everyone fought for every single spot and every inch of room on the course.
With two laps to go I was leading a large group of about six riders. Everyone was pushing the pace and trying to create some time gaps. Each time one rider made an error, another one of us would take the advantage until the last lap when the pace began to pull the group apart.
I finished 18th for the day a bit disappointed to not have been able to secure a top 15 spot but pleased with my best World Cup finish to date.
Oh, by the way, apparently my ride in Tabor did not go unoticed. Colt at CyclingDirt named me the "Jump of the Week" in his weekly "Who's #1" cross rankings. Check out the video clip below. Thanks, Colt!
The ubiquitous Czech meal is meat with gravy and dumplings or heavy potato biscuits. This week, inspired by the classic cuisine of the Czech Republic, I’ve created a vegan version. Check out the recipe on my blog, The Vegan Delicious.
This year marks our fourth season with Seven Cycles, and to mark the occasion, Rob Vandermark, Matt O'Keefe and the crew at Seven put their heads together to create a new 'cross machine for me, effectionately dubbed the "Mo-honey." It's a work of art... a work of art that I get to race!
I asked Rob to put his thoughts about the Prototype into words for me. Have a look at the evolution of the "Mo-honey."
This cross project came together out of three distinct and disparate projects. Initially the venture started surreptitiously two years ago in part as a product of the Seven Cycles Collaborative. The design also evolved from specific aspects of our Elium SLX line, and the project even includes some of the best elements of the A6 carbon frame platform. We chose to create this bike because of our track record with the carbon tube design and ride performance on the Elium SLX, knowing we’d be able to make our lightest bike yet, while maintaining the durability for which Seven carbon frames are known.
As with the Elium line, the titanium lugs enable us to easily accommodate any frame geometry, tube size, ride characteristics, and frame options. Mo’s cross frame is a testament to this – her bike includes many of the custom aspects and features available on any other Seven model.
Recently, this bike was accused of being our “most artistic frame” yet. We definitely agree. This new model is the lightest, most technically sophisticated, and visually stimulating frame we have in our line.
We'll have the Prototype in Northampton at the next stop of the New England Pro Cyclocross Series. Please come by to check it out. It's amazing.
Thanks, Seven. We love you guys!
Check out the media cover from the Plzen and Tabor World Cups below:
Check out highlights of the first World Cup can be viewed below.
Thanks for the amazing support of Bob’s Red Mill, Seven Cycles, SRAM, Mavic, TRP, Challenge, Lazer, Fizik, Mad Alchemy, Thule and our new sponsors Castelli, Zipp, Zanconato, Vita Coco, Fitness Together Arlington and Restwise.
Thanks for reading!
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