Thanks to a combination of injuries, illness and a need for less travel and more training, it was only the two Martins who flew out to Canada for the fourth round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.
The Mecca of MTB, Mont Saint Anne, was celebrating 25 years of World Cup racing. Both favoured and feared among the riders, the track’s iconic features – like ‘Beatrice’, a sharp chute of randomly angled rocks, and the classic French Quebec climbs of ‘Alp d’Huez’ and ‘La Marmotte’ – keep coming at the riders without respite.
For Martin Gujan and Martin Gluth the course offered a lot to like, and of course some sections to test the motor and the mind. For the most part the jet lag had subsided and the long journey was out of the legs come race day.
The start of the race couldn’t have gone much better!
“It’s a fair start loop and if you are a fast starter you can get to the front”, said Gluth, whose impressive XC Eliminator credentials really showed. “I was in 11th position at the highest point of the first lap!”
Gujan was also able to make a great start, moving up to 15th position at the first lap split. The boys were mixing it up with the very best, getting lots of TV time and getting us all very excited. After a season of difficult starts and getting held up with crashes, it was great to see the boys up fighting in the top 20.
Unfortunately the subsequent laps didn’t go so well. For Gluth, two big over-the-bars crashes meant that he lost places and his good race rhythm. He decided the pace was just too fast and that in order to avoid more big mistakes he must back off the power and recover his composure…
“From lap 4 onwards it went better again and I could finish in a solid 40th place and with a good feeling.”
For Guschi, a finishing position of 28 did not bring a good feeling. Having found some fine form in his last races, he was hoping for something more in Mont Sainte Anne.
“There was nothing exactly wrong, but I just didn’t have that good feeling. I could set a good speed, but then nothing more. It’s hard to explain.”
It seems that Guschi was running on diesel, chugging along quite well but without that zippy top-end speed of a petrol motor! Rather remarkably, Guschi’s less than best still resulted in a top 30 finish.
So, despite some disappointments and few bumps and bruises, there are many positives to take onto round five in Windham, USA, next week.
We are ready to fight again, #weareOMX!