Watching Olympic mountain biking over the weekend was really entertaining and exciting. I found the course to be very non-technical for the most part, which was surprising: I expected the best of the best to be presented with more difficult challenges.
I commented on Facebook that a couple of the climbs looked pretty tough, and was promptly made fun of by some of my friends who bike in more mountainous regions than I do. 🙂
Not only did I enjoy watching some of the world’s best XC mountain bikers compete, there were some really inspirational stories there…
Emily Batty, a phenomenal Canadian mountain biker who I admit to having a slight crush on, took a terrible spill a couple of days before her race during a training run. She was doing about 40 KPH on a rocky downhill and went OTB. She broke her collarbone and bruised or cracked some ribs, but she still raced! I’ve cracked ribs before, and the pain is unreal. I can’t imagine racing two days after cracking a few ribs and breaking my collarbone! That’s the heart of a real champion.
Spoilers in this next bit.
The men’s race was really exciting, especially the final lap. I was watching the race streaming live on my computer, and there was no commentary in that feed. Towards the end of the race I saw something fly off the Italian Marco Fontana’s bike. At the time Fontana was right there with the leader and making some strong moves, but he started to fall behind. I couldn’t tell what fell off his bike, but it didn’t look like a water bottle. Turns out his seat post snapped in half, and he finished the race with no saddle, taking the bronze medal. What I liked best about this unfortunate event is the way he handled what must have been a huge disappointment: he didn’t whine or complain about his bad luck, and was very gracious. Win, lose or DNF, that’s how a true athlete behaves. I can’t stand the bloated egos so prevalent in many professional sports, and that’s why I don’t watch baseball, basketball or football.
After watching all that racing I am really in the mood to ride this morning (I also spent a couple hours yesterday giving my bike a complete tune), but I’m buried in work. No chance of hitting the trails today, but maybe I’ll be able to go out front and practice some skills over my lunch hour.