Back from the pits to watch the cross country races. Not as spectacular as the downhill, there’s still a lot to keep your interest. The pack start is definately something to see, if you're early enough get a good vantage point a hundred meters from the start line.

When the gun goes off, it’s like watching a field of thoroughbreds charging from the gate. Amazingly, the cyclists may well kick up more dust than the race horses.

  If you're smart, you'll inquire about some of the wicked extended climbs or the real technical sections that force even some of the pros to dismount. These are great places to observe the riders’ incredible skills, stamina and mental resolve.  
  As the race progresses you can tune into some of the strategies the racers use. While some times you’ll see some races lost on the technical downhill sections, more often than not the climbs are the deciding factor.

Good climbers try to pass on the hills hoping to discourage opponents and advance several places. An often-used technique is dogging your opponent, waiting for a sign of weakness or a riding error to make a morale-crushing break.

Finally, head for the finish to watch the lead riders come in. Here you’ll see some of the most dog tired people you've ever observed, miraculously come back to life in celebration of victory.

When they finally ascend the podium later in the day you’ll see a camaraderie that was little evident during the race. Riders are a tight group and it shows when the champagne starts flowing.

The crowd watches as the winning girls cut loose with the champagne.
  Oh, and by the way, this is what Missy Giove and Canada’s Olympic Medal winner Alison Sydor look like. So if you're at the races and you recognize them, say hi. They like that.  
Alison Sydor       Missy Giove