Maybe it’s because I remember waiting in line to talk to Kate Courtney and get the whole Scott team autograph a poster, at the 2019 Snowshoe, WV World Cup. Maybe it’s because I just like to root for the USA riders, but either way, it is nice to see Courtney pushing hard at these races. It’s also nice that she’s not blowing half of them off for “altitude training” as it seems everyone else is. Now granted, she is not on the Olympic team, and will likely not return to the big games in her career, but still.
I’ve said it for decades. I dislike Olympic year racing the most. It’s a mess. All the top players miss all kinds of races. Look at PFP this year, her last year no less. She showed up to a few and won easily, then retreated back to wherever she goes and you won’t see or hear her again until the Olympics. Where she’ll probably win – no guarantees at all though. Then that’s it. No way she’s flying to North America so all of her fans can see her one last time. That’s it. She’ll be a full time roadie again and honestly, probably fade away from the insane road talent she’s going to be facing.
Pidcock of course does this all the time, and I dislike it just as much, but at least he’s not pretending to be a mtb’er, he just likes to win, and likes the dirt.
But altitude training? I dunno. I’m sure it works great. It’s certainly none of my business what anyone does on their bike for training. But I like Keller’s approach. Show up to all the races, put 100% in and see what happens. There are only 30 racers at the Olympic race, so a medal is a 1 in 10 possibility.
Man I can’t wait until 2025 when things get back to normal. This all relates to an article I read about how the overall winners for the World Cup no longer mean anything. And I can’t disagree at all. Do any of the riders besides Keller even care anymore? Do you win a new car like in the old days? Dating back 40 years, the overall winner at the end of the year used to win a new car or truck. It was a big deal. What do the overall winners win now? A nice big chunk of cash from the UCI? Nope…nothing really. Can’t hurt come sponsor hunting time to say you were the best that year, but with no incentive to actuall complete a whole season, then they deserve what they get.
Look at the Lifetime Grand Prix of gravel in the USA. There is a quarter million bucks on the line, split out over many places. They let you drop a race or two, and whoever has the most points, gets the biggest chunk of dough. But even lower places get money. This motivates all the racers to keep at it, and to NOT MISS RACES if they can help it. Duh.
The UCI seems to think they are so awesome, who wouldn’t want to race all their races? Apparently plenty don’t care. Many won’t even go to north america…
I personally think the Overall winners are the true winners for the year. They did the most races, had the best results, race after race. The Olympic gold? Big deal, world champs? Same thing. One day races that all the top competitors skip races just to be at their best…and they usually aren’t. Season over.
See you in 4 more years, when it happens all over again, probably even worse than 2024.