American Meredith Miller (CalGiant) was all smiles at the end of the Hoogerheide World Cup where she finished 12th. “Much better today, much better for my head.” she smiled right after crossing the finish line on Sunday.
Her last trip to race cross in Europe was, well, a disaster. A disappointing result at the Kalmthout World Cup followed by a DNF, her first ever at a cross race, at the Zolder World Cup on December 26th. Miller went home, rested, trained and came back looking for redemption.
‘Today definitely helped my head, after last trip around I was hurting pretty bad mentally. I got home, recuperated, rejuvenated, I watched some cross races on TV, watching Katie [Compton] at Koksijde, crushing people and I was like alright, I’m a better rider than that so I’m ready to go back and get some revenge.”
Throughout the cross season, Miller has been having slow starts for one reason or another. She rated this one “not bad.”
“There were a couple of crazy moves coming onto the pavement on the first turn. I was like ‘whoa okay’It’s a long one, it gives a lot of time for people to get a little bit squirrelly.” Miller explained. The Hoogerheide course starts off with a long, flat sprint on the pavement for the holeshot followed by a quick downhill turn.
Miller used the muddy conditions to her advantage. “I just kept my composure, just kept trying to leapfrog people. I kept seeing people in front of me pit and I took that as an opportunity to get places so I did not pit once and as you could see I probably should of, my gears were skipping a little bit but not so bad that I couldn’t pedal and I felt like I was able to keep a good rhythm that way and keep the spots that I had moved up and I didn’t want to pit and lose any of those.”
And she used her power on the tough course to hold to her 12th position. “The run was a slog. Ran that and then of course the runup, that’s what just breaks your leg to the top, and you’re like ‘okay now I have to accelerate great’.”
Now, it’s all about her final cross race of the season, the 2011 Cyclocross World Championships in St Wendel, Germany this Sunday.
“I’m looking forwards to Germany, seeing that course, it’s another hard one. I think the harder as far as power, the better for me, if that’s the case then it bodes well for me.”
Her goal for the race? Well her best result to far at any European races, including her first World Championships last year is 12th.
“Last year I was 12th so I don’t want to be any farther than that. If I can improve on that then…” And you know, she might just crack that top 10 this year.