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  • Writer's pictureGary Moller

A Ferrari beat me at the UCI Masters Mountain Bike World Championships!

At least it was not a Trabant

I was overcome by a mix of joy and sheer exhaustion as I crossed the finish line to take second place in the world championships. Just 40 minutes ago, my prospects of winning anything were grim. I'll explain why and tell you how the race went, and explain why I was so delighted to win silver, although my goal for the past several years has always been a laser-focus on winning gold - not silver.

This is the proverbial 'fish that got away' story. Which means there is unfinished business.

Image: at attention while the Italian National Anthem plays

Although a silver medal at the UCI MTB Masters World Championships mean there is some unfinished business, I'm still a very 'Happy Chappy'. Okay, so what happened and how did the race unfold?

Gary finally getting one on the 'Flying Ferrari'

Image: I may not have won, but I sure felt like it!

With just ten minutes to go before the gun was to fire, we were herded into what looked like several sheep pens. These were designed to sort us into the right starting order. Alofa, my partner in life and Team Gary Moller Manager, was not happy, she was yelling and gesturing at me from across the barriers with just minutes left to go before the start of what was to be the most important race of my life, "you're supposed to be at the front - not the rear - what are you doing?"

In mountain biking, being at the rear of the riders for the start is as good as a death sentence. The starts for short-course mountain bike races are always frantic and desperate affairs, like a herd of cattle stampeding for the narrow canyon entrance. If you are not one of the first 4-5 riders to enter that first of many bottlenecks, the ensuing mayhem of crushing bikes and bodies at that squeeze-point pretty much guarantees that your chances of ever catching the leaders are bleak.

They're even bleaker when the race is going to be less than 40 minutes long - the most ridiculously shortest race in the history of mountain biking (the standard length of time for this style of racing is around 1 hr 20-40 min). Less than forty minutes was going to be the winning time today.

If the race was to have been three or four laps instead of a measly two, a more conservative start and careful pacing can be a winning strategy; but two laps pretty much dictates that the first few riders to make it into the single track are going to be the winners.


During these 'Olympic-style' races, there is only a finite amount of energy availa