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Keegan Swenson's World Cup Blog - From XC Nationals to Andorra

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |August 19, 2013 3:25 AM
Keegan Swenson's World Cup Blog - From XC Nationals to Andorra

The past couple weeks have been quite busy with racing nationals in Pennsylvania then bouncing back over to Europe for the 4thWorld Cup in Andorra. Then having to travel back to Germany for a week before heading over the Canada for the World Cup in Sainte Anne.
Sofia and I arrived in PA about 4 days before my race. Which was just enough time to get used to the extreme heat and humidity and get the course dialed in. The course was a lot of fun, very different from nationals the past couple years in Sun Valley, lots of rocks and not a ton of climbing. After a couple days of pre riding I felt I had all the rough parts down, I also decided to race my Scalpel 29 because of how rough the course was. It was my first time actually racing that bike so it took some getting used to, but I think it was the right choice in the end.

It was a different race than normal, just by how spread out it was the entire time. Howard, Russell, and Kerry were all pinning it from the start so I decided I would just ride my own pace and try to avoid blowing up in the heat. I rode in 4th all the way until the last lap when Cameron Dodge (Scott) caught me near the top of the climb, which put me in 5th. But near the end of the last lap we both passed Howard who had unfortunately crashed and hurt his shoulder. So in the end I finished 4th, which I was pretty happy about considering its just my first year U23Ö.still have many years to come! Thanks to both my parents and Sofia for make it a successful trip. And thanks to Sho-Air/Cannondale for the technical support.

After lots of travel delays I eventually made it to Toulouse, France, where I met Manuel Fumic and Marco Fontana to drive up to Andorra. I was pretty excited, finally getting out of the heat of Pennsylvania and into the cooler mountain air of Andorra. The race was at about 6000ft, which is almost the same as my home in Park City. On Wednesday I made it out onto the course with Anton for a few laps, and it was not your typical "World CupĒ track. Not really any man made sections and the trail was generally pretty smooth. But I was still really excited to race, because I had a bit more confidence after my nationals result the week before and was ready for battle.

Friday morning I went out for a little spin to loosen the legs a bit as we did not race till 5pm that evening, so after that I was ready to go. I had bib number 47, which isnít all that bad, and was able to push myself up into about the 3rd or 4th row before the gun went off. During the start some guy kicked a good size rock up and it flew in front of my face and hit the guy next to me in the head, glad it missed me! Anyway, the start rolled up the pretty steep and wide grass climb and I was able to make my way into top 20 going into the singletrack. Which was good because I didnít have to runÖ I hate running in a mountain bike race. Thatís always my motivation for a good start.

On one of the fire road climbs in the race I was able to work my way into the top 15, then I just stayed there for most of the race. Trying hard not to pull in the wind too much, as it was quite windy on some of the open parts of the course. On the second to last lap I sort of cracked a bit and faded back to around 17th. After limiting my loses on that lap, I was able to find a bunch of new energy and moved all the way up to 13thby the finish! 13th is my best U23 world cup finish thus far, so Iím pretty stoked on it! But I am still hoping I can crack the top 10 in Canada this coming weekend! Congrats to both Manuel and Anton for a strong race! Good to have everyone back healthy and racing! Off to Canada!

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