From Mont Sainte Anne in Cananda, Martin Gujan and Martin Gluth travelled south into the USA and onto round five of the UCI World Cup at Windham Mountain, New York.
After a hard race and then a long day of travel the boys had a fairly restful first few days in Windham with only light training. However, come Thursday it was time to test the course and the legs and once again think about giving it full-throttle in preparation for a fast and furious race.
The course was, as ever, a tale of two halves; a long uphill of wide track, singletrack and a couple of techy sections, and then a long downhill including a multi-line rock garden, roots, drops and fast off-camber gravel. Of all the World Cup courses raced this year, it is the most ‘old school’.
Unfortunately that is not a style that particularly suits the Martins. They are more punchy and technical riders, rather than excelling on the long climbs. However, professional as ever, both boys pushed aside any self-doubt or dislikes and took to the start determined to give it their best.
As the starter’s pistol fired, the race roared off the line and spread to fill the wide track. Guschi could be seen charging up the left of the field, cutting tight into the corner and accelerating hard out of it to make up places. Gluth, meanwhile, was swallowed somewhere in the middle of the pack by a cloud of dust so thick that two thirds of the field completely disappeared from sight!
“It was really difficult to get in front at the start loop because you could hardly see anything with all the dust! I was too far back and too slow in the first lap but get could into my rhythm in the following laps.”
The pace was crazy quick! Guschi had moved up from a start place of 45 into the top 25 and looked really strong; furiously fast but in control. From here he found himself among a bunch of strong riders, racing wheel to wheel and trying to claw their way up to the group ahead. Whilst some riders faded and others found their legs and lungs, Guschi sat steady in 29th position until the finish straight where he managed to win the sprint and claim another 28th place.
“After a good start I had a steady race with no ups and downs. It was an ‘OK’ race, but I gave it my all and couldn’t have gone any faster”.
Whilst Guschi was maintaining his high place, Gluth was fighting forward to try and establish his. After starting in around 60th position, he gradually worked his was up, really making inroads in the final two laps to eventually finish in 48th place. Although not happy with that result, he is rightly satisfied with his race having given it everything.
With the boys now back at home in Europe, and the dust finally washed out of every last bit of bicycle and body, it it time to recover and get ready for the final World Cup stop of the season: Val di Sole. Italy awaits!