After a DNF next to his name in Offenburg, Germany, and a DNS next to his name in Houffalize, Germany, in his second and third World Cup races this season, Todd Wells was greeted by Maverick in Madrid, Spain, for Race No. 4.
Maverick, as in the Top Gun actor also known as Tom Cruise, of course.
"My trip over was good, and the weather was hot and sticky when we arrived (last) Thursday afternoon," said Wells, a two-time Olypmian and former Fort Lewis College cyclist who makes his home in Durango. "(Specialized teammate Burry Stander) and I went out for a loop of the course, and right when we were getting started we got called for random drug testing by a guy that looked like Maverick in Top Gun, complete with aviator sunglasses - 30 minutes later we were back on the course," Wells said in a news release.
Julien Absalon of France won his third consecutive World Cup cross country race and 19th of his career. The Olympic champion leads the Cup standings with 950 points, an enormous 350 points over runner-up Wolfram Kurschat of Germany.
Stander, who finished Sunday's race seventh, is in third place overall with 580 points after the final cross country race of the Cup spring campaign.
Wells finished 16th, 3 minutes and 9 seconds off Absalon's pace.
"It rained on and off (Friday and Saturday), and Sunday morning the women had a muddy course to contend with," Wells said. "They dried it our for us, though, because by the time we went it was in perfect condition. It was super tacky and fast, probably the fastest I have ever seen it."
Wells said Casa de Campo has hosted the World Cup race the last eight years, and the course, "in the heart of the city," is less than a kilometer from The Royal Palace, or Palacio Real de Madrid.
"The park has to be bigger than Central Park in New York," Wells said.
Wells, who trained for his latest Cup run in Durango with local Iron Horse Bicycle Classic professionals, is 36th overall in the Cup standings with 134 points.
"I didn't have the best starting position after not finishing Offenburg and not starting Houffalize, but I moved up pretty quick," Wells said of Sunday's race. "I managed to make it into the main chasing group containing third through 10th at the start of the fifth (and penultimate) lap but couldn't hold the pace.
"I faded back to 16th by the finish but was happy to make it into that lead chase group and take part in the race."
After the race, Wells, Stander and teammate Christoph Sauser went for a ride through the city, perhaps in search of Kelly McGillis, but just "hung out for a while people-watching," Wells said.
"It was a highlight of the trip for me."