The Heckawee crew loaded up the Mystery Machine at an obscene hour to spectate at the Cyclocross World Championships in Louisville. Flooding on the Ohio forced the organizers to move the Women’s and Men’s finals from Sunday to Saturday, putting the women at 11am……and we lose an hour going from Carbondale. So, we packed up our KFC buckets and drove off into the eventual sunrise. Heckawee Chief Reimbold was in rare form and we managed to make it to Louisville before the end of the Juniors—Dutch boy Matti van der Poel was a decisive victor, and American Logan Owen just missed the podium after a mechanical (an interesting theme…which will recur). The main event for us KFC Bucketheads (Chief, Molteni, Gary M, Dave, and Flavia along with me) was the Women. We had a prime spot on the infield fence in view of the limestone run up, the scary descents and climbs, and the crazy off camber of death—all of which were quite familiar since we’ve raced that course several times in the last few years. The floodwaters were seeping up in the infield, and it was really clear that the organizers made a strong move—the entire course was underwater by the next day. The first site was of Vos pounding through the woods, already putting 5 seconds on second….and Compton was way back after having a chain-drop or chainring shifting issue (hmmmmmm). Next lap, Vos has 11 seconds) but second place biffed the “easy” off camber turn while Vos charged on, effortlessly riding everything. Compton was gradually moving up, but the race was over–barring an extreme crash or mechanical. By Lap 3 I had Vos at 50 seconds coming into the trees, and the Bucketheads were worried that Compton might give up and not even medal. But, she didn’t. She clawed back to the front group and picked her way past a series of great women, Sanne Van Passen (who has a nasty faceplant near us), Lucie Chainel-Lefevre, Eva Lechner, and Katerina Nash. Nash had a biff and lost third coming through our section, and had cleat problems and had to run the “ride up” only then she dropped a chain in the final sprint and tried to run for the medal, but lost to Chainel. Chain drop….hmmmmm.
I don’t give a fuck about the u-23. Some dutch boy won. They don’t let the women race u-23 (and if they did, American Katlin Antonneau would have won—she was 10th in the women’s). So, Dave and Flavia and I took our buckets to the beer Tent. The only major organizational failing of the event was that the organizers were completely unprepared to sell beer, food, and merchandise. No official merchandise was available (one booth near the Start, sold out before Compton finished), and the one beer tent was pathetic. We waited in line with a bunch of old Dutch and Belgian fans—“this would not happen in Europe, they would have at least three tents this size—said the diminuitive yet animated Dutchwoman.” Fun bunch though, I really loved seeing the Euros. Chief, Molteni, and Gary went back to the Mystery Machine to load up on beer and sandwiches.
We were a little confused about what to do for the finale. The infield allowed a lot of views, but not the direct contact of the interior of the pit—but the water was rising and the crowds were increasing and we lost our fence spot. So, we opted to remain in the interior and move back and forth between the sand pit and the flat section (near the Jumbotron—which gave awesome coverage of the nasty stuff). Frenchmen Mourey made an awesome early bid with several others in tow (including the American, Page). No Belgians in the initial break! Then, Page dumped his chain and couldn’t get it back on. Mourey dropped all of the rest in sequence (Weislaben, Taramarcke, Bina, and Simunek), and then Dave’s man Pawels led the chase for Belgium and went straight past Mourey and began to pull a gap…..and then he dropped his chain and couldn’t get it out……hmmmmmm……Next thing you know—it’s my man Klaas on the front and putting in a very serious dig that obliterates Albert, Wellens, and Van Der Haar….only there is this guy named Sven Nys on his wheel. Klaas fought like hell, but made a few very small errors in the closing lap, and that was it. Sven Nys won only his second world championship in Louisville. Belgium rejoiced. They don’t even count Albert as one of theirs, so they think that a Belgian hasn’t won since Vervecken in 2007. And, Bart Wellens narrowly missed a medal as well–he had an Awesome finishing lap.
Heckawee had an awesome time at Proof, then went our separate ways in the Morning—with the Western tribe hitting French Lick for some mountain biking in the snow. And we left LJ, our honorary Buckethead.