By Dede Demet Barry, T-Mobile professional cycling team
Bardolino is the host town of the time trials this week.It is situated on Lake Garda and loaded with good cafes and gelato shops. After being a part of the Olympic Games in August, the World Championships seem relatively small, but the relaxed ambiance is enjoyable.
Team USA is staying on a hillside above Lake Garda. Fall has arrived here, the leaves are already beginning to change colors and the air is crisp and cool. I am four days away from the finish of the season and thoughts of hikes in the woods, mountain bike rides and lazy mornings with the New York Times are dancing in my head.
The past couple of weeks, training and racing has been a struggle, as my back has been giving me trouble. I dropped out of the Giro Toscana ten days ago with a back pain and was not able to do as much work in training as I had hoped leading up the World Championships due to this injury. I knew my legs would be fresh, but my performance here would be hit or miss, as I would either be perfectly rested or my legs would be flat. Unfortunately, the latter occurred in the time trial and I could not produce enough power to fight for the win.
I had started third to last in the time trial with Karin Thürig just behind me. She passed me with six kilometers to go, quite a demoralizing experience, as she was like a motorbike buzzing by. She looked incredibly powerful and I knew when she passed me that she would be World Champion.
Karin is a time trial specialist, who also competes in Ironman distance triathlons. Last year, after the Worlds, she went on to compete in the Hawaii Ironman. She has a bronze medal from the past two World Championships and the 2004 Olympic Games. After being runner up in these events, she deserves the rainbow jersey.
My teammate, Christine Thorburn had a very good ride and finished comfortably in the top ten showing that she has the power and ability to consistently finish amongst the best in the world in the time trial.
One of highlights of my time trial was seeing Connie and Davis Phinney en route- they posted themselves on the course with an American flag and stood with a crowd of cycling campers that are touring around Garda with this week.
They had painted my name in the road and their cheers motivated me. Connie and Davis are good friends and have been a huge part of my development as a cyclist, as they coached me when I was a young. It was nice to have a little extra push out there.
Another highlight this week was seeing Rebecca Much win the silver in the Junior women’s time trial on Monday. She is a huge talent and I think we will see great things from her in coming years. She had a big fan club from Chicago here, with Rebecca Much fan club pins.
It was also nice seeing Dave Zabriskie do a solid ride today in the men’s elite race. With his fifth place finish, Dave displayed that he has the capacity to be World Time Trial Champion one day. Dave is a nice kid, a great cyclist, and it is awesome seeing him race well after all his misfortune in the last few years.
Tomorrow we will be previewing the road-race course in Verona, which looks to be quite selective.