28 September 2007

World TT Championships.

The morning of the Women’s TT dawned with dark and rainy looking skies. There was a 45% chance of rain, according to the 15 or so internet weather sites we could find. But from the look, you could say it was a 100% chance. We got prepared, and loaded up the truck, only two girls today, Susanne of course, and for the first time for Worlds, Emma Johansson.

By the time we got to the course, the sun was starting to come out a bit, the clouds were leaving, and my anxiety was starting to wane a little. There is nothing worse than a hilly, winding TT course, rain, and unstable bikes, with very skinny smooth TT tires. Almost brings tears to any mechanics eyes just talking about it. Nothing more upsetting than seeing your rider slam full tilt into the barriers on a sharp corner, or seeing them slide down the wet road for a few hundred meters until they come to a stop. Just the thought of all that carbon and paint getting scratched, and ground off on the road surface, (oh and the damage to the rider of course). So I started to relax a little, and the sun came out even more to dry up the last wet patches on the course, phew.

Emma on the starting ramp, ready to roll.

First up was Trine for Denmark, looking good for her first Worlds as well. Her half way split was respectable, and she was looking great until the second lap. The last 1.5 km are all up hill, so you got to save something otherwise you might not even make it up to the finish. Emma was next on the road, and this was the rider I was following for the day, and I finally got to look at the whole course. Susanne was next, with Klas in tow. Then Mirjam and amber, all in the last 10 off the line.

Emma around one of the many corners, she looks in control, thank god.

Emma was looking good for the first ¼ of the first lap (of two), she had good speed in the corners, and a good speed in her legs. Near the halfway mark my heart stopped for a minute when she took a corner at high speed, over some railway lines. She looked like she was going to loose it, a bit of wobbling, and some great action on the bars to pull the bike back into line. I started breathing again as she got back into her rhythm, and continued. At the halfway point she was sitting in 9th place, not bad, but there were all of the faster riders starting behind her, so she would have to pick it up very soon if she wanted a top ten. Amber was storming through the course, but she was down a bit on the current leader Hunka Kufanagel, but looking good all the same. Mirjam was also looking good, and Susanne was well down at half way, recording a 33rd place, she would have to pick her game right up if she wanted a top ten.

Emma came through the finish sitting about 15th, but there was about 15 riders still on the course, most of the fastest ones were still on the first lap. I rushed back to the truck, set Emma up on her trainer to warm down, and ran to the TV to see the last few riders on the course. Susanne was looking good, but at the halfway point she was in 34th place, but she always starts slow. She managed to pick it up in the last half and came though the chute in sixth place. I was stoked, but there was a few more good ones on the road. Next up Mirjam, riding for the Netherlands, she knocked Sus of the sixth and put herself one place in front. That was fine as it is another team member, so it’s not so bad. But there was another five riders to come through, and as you would expect they all came in front of our girls.

Mirjam up the hill for the second lap, looking sweet and in control.

Amber had been in the hot seat in third place for most of the day, but she got shunted to 4th at the last moment. Mirjam was 11th in the end and Susanne 12th, with trine 27th and Emma (Sweden) 26th. So not a bad start to the week, now the road race to come. This we will have more luck with.

Susanne on the secong lap, a bit out of focus, but it's all I got.

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