The Felt rig and the Xbionic Team made the trip down to Windham, NY for the second round of the MTB WC here in North America, directly after Mont Sainte Anne. Luckily, the team had no issue with the US/Canadian border crossing, and no bikes went missing in transit (unlike their flight to Canada from Europe). With all staff and racers in Windham by Monday evening, it was straight to business Tuesday morning. The Felt Pit went up with ease, and mechanic Geri was quick and thorough in all of his pre-training-ride checks on the bikes. The same formula was followed over the next few days, and all the racers on the Xbionic team were able to train on clean and smooth bikes before the weekend’s races. Also, as an added bonus, Judy Freeman of the American based Kenda-Felt team was on hand in Windham to tackle the Women’s Elite XC Race.
Geri keeping the bikes so fresh and so clean
The weather in Windham stayed the same throughout the week- hot. Though not the best for racing weather, it was nice that it didn’t fluctuate like it had previously in Quebec. All the riders grew acclimated quickly, and were able to go fast. The course at Windham was brutal. It was nowhere near as technical as Mont Sainte Anne, but the climb was almost entirely exposed, as in no shade. This was tough in weather upwards of 90 degrees on race day!
Geri the Mechanic making his way to the Tech Zone in the morning heat
The women’s race would be first, in the early afternoon on Saturday. Felt Xbionic’s Sabrina Enaux, Adel Morath, and Blaza Klemencic as well as Kenda-Felt’s Judy Freeman would all be taking on the Elite Women’s race. All four were ready to crush the course, but Adel and Blaza and an extra bit of motivation: Adel was fired up after her technical(s) in Mont Sainte Anne, and Blaza wanted to defend her fourth place finish from the year before. After five brutal laps, and only one technical, the results were in: Blaza finished the highest, with a solid 8th place finish. She was a little bit disappointed in not getting on the podium, but happy to be in the top ten considering how rough the weather was during the race. Adel was not too far behind, with a 19th place. Sabrina came in 33rd, with a flat on her first lap. Judy was able to land in 37th, and can’t wait for the WC to come back to the states again!
Sabrina and Blaza warming up on trainers before their race
Adel, right before her warm up on the road
Blaza at Call Ups
Adel and Judy
Blaza crushing her first lap
Adel attacking the course with a vengance
Sabrina at the top of the climb
Blaza after her finish
Adel getting congratulated by Geri after a great comeback here at Windham
Sabrina Rolling through her finish
Judy all smiles after her race
The men’s race started shortly after the last of the elite women cleared the course. Thomas Litshcer hoped to keep his top-ten streak alive this weekend, even though he had been battling a bit of a head cold after Mont Sainte Anne, and Karl Markt was ready to better his result from the past weekend as well. After a gnarly dismount on the high-speed descent, AKA a crash, Thomas landed in 14th. Karl, sadly, had more issues in Windham then he did in Quebec, with one of the most epic technical problems ever; he managed to wrap his chain around his right crank-arm twice. It was quite the mess for Geri the mechanic to clean up, but he is as world class of a mechanic as the team is at racing, so he quickly had the old-twisted chain off and a brand new Shimano XTR chain installed. Karl managed to hang on for 33rd place, and was a bit disappointed his efforts were lost to a mechanical. But hey, that’s racing, and both athletes look forward to crushing their respective National Championships.
Karl gettingsome last minute inspections on his bike
Thomas on his second lap
Karl getting mad at the course (in a good way of course)!
Thomas, after his crash
Karl, catching up after his epic technical
Thomas popping a wheelie across the finish line
Karl hammering it home for the finish
Karl, frustrated with his mechanical, but happy to be out of the Windham heat
Thomas going over the race with Team Manager Robbie.
Like every race weekend parts of Windham can be looked upon negatively, but overall, it is hard to not look upon it as a huge success. With a solid effort by the entire team and top-20 results in both the women’s and men’s elite XC, it is hard to be negative! And best of all, Team Felt Xbionic is now in second overall in the UCI Elite XC team standings!
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