Recap: Vegas & Iowa
September 19th – 26th, 2016
Photos by Niels Musschoot and Snowy Mountain Photography
Before we knew it, it was time to pack the bikes to fly to Las Vegas. We left the rOti sprinter van in Chicago and we took only the essentials on the flight: 2 bikes, 4 pairs of wheels, a race kit, our fancy party clothes…
It’s always a struggle with the lights, sounds, heat, and general overstimulation of all the senses in Vegas. This year, we also struggled with coffee. Without any appliances in the outdated Monte Carlo Hotel, we went on a mad search for an electric kettle (which took many hours and multiple trips) just so we could attempt our aero-press coffee maker in the room. Exhausted, and still under-caffeinated, we sourced an excellent coffee establishment far away from the strip. Espresso from a whiskey snifter, anyone?
The overall CrossVegas experience was outstanding. I was blown away by the world-class event production and passionate spectators. It’s truly a unique cyclocross experience in the U.S. I raced from the heart, soaking up the atmosphere, to finish 18th. A solid beginning to what is a long season.
We flew back to Chicago, picked up the rOti van, and as we were approaching Iowa City we hit the storm. The rain was so heavy and the wind strong. It could only mean that the next day I would break out the Challenge Limus tires for some mud. I was in my element.
This muddy race would have been impossible without the skills and dedication of my mechanic Oscar, the man behind rOti Cycling Services, and his apprentice, Niels.
Photo by Wil Matthews
After Friday night’s race, I woke up sick with a cold. Refusing to give up so soon, I still previewed the World Cup course and took to the start line. One lap in, however, I surrendered and called it a day. It’s rarely a good idea to race when sick.
Like CrossVegas, the production of this second U.S. World Cup was equally as outstanding. It gave me goosebumps every time I saw the European racers who came all this way to get a taste of Jingle Cross. Perhaps World Championships someday?
And then the end came so soon, the end of my September racing block in the U.S. There were a few moments when I didn’t know if everything would fit in the bags, but in the end everything made it to Brussels. The hardest part was leaving rOti Cycling Services behind. Thanks for everything, Oscar.
On to the Belgian adventure…