The Olympics have been over for about a week and you know why you haven’t heard anything about the Men’s Olympic Cross Country Mountain Bike Race? Here’s a clue:
In the men’s race, both U.S. competitors – Adam Craig (Bend, Ore.) and Todd Wells (Durango, Colo.) – were pulled from the race after being lapped by the lead riders. Julien Absalon (FRA) successfully defended his Olympic title, while Jean-Cristophe Peraud (FRA) claimed the silver and Nino Schurter (SUI) took bronze.
The men’s race started a field of 50, but only 28 finished after enduring high late-afternoon temperatures.
A couple of points here. First I’m a little more obsessed with this than I should be because it’s the only sport I’ve ever participated in competitively. so color me be biased and file this whole post under hypercritical-Monday-morning-quarterback.
Secondly, lets focus on the last sentence there: “only 28 finished after enduring high late-afternoon temperatures.” Hrm. Where’s a hot place that people like to ride mountain bikes, even when it’s 110 heat index? Here’s a hint, starts with a ‘T’ and ends with an ‘exas.’ Hrm. Good thing we had a lot of Olympic riders ready for hot climates from southern states. Oh. Oregon and Colorado. Yeah, those aren’t really warm places. Hrmmmm…
Then there’s the qualifying system. For some stupid reason, because we invented this sport we’ve decided to make it ridiculously drawn-out and difficult for the best riders to get sorted out and to the Olympics. So much so, that by the time they get there, they’re completely smoked. Watch Offroad to Athens if you need clarification. Maybe we feel like, as the founder’s of the sport, we should be giving those other guys a chance. Either that or we like losing. Seriously, the way USAcycling runs its mountain biking division makes the BCS system look logical and and fair.
Regardless, this is one of the best cases for Texas succession from the union that I’ve seen in a long time. I’m confident that there’s at least half a dozen riders just here in Austin that cold have braved the “high late-afternoon temperatures” and actually finished the damn race, and maybe even kicked some french ass. A Texan Olympic team could bring a lot to the table: high-heat tolerance, technical terrain abilities and of course guns (wussy euros would think twice about passing on the singletrack is they thought we were packing heat). And, as a nice personal bonus to this plan, since I ranked about 300th in the state last year, there’s a good chance that I could make it to London in 2012 in something besides the 50k run-walk.
Who’s coming with me?
Just a note: the women’s team actually did quite well – pulling 7th and 8th.