2017 DOWNHILL WRAP-UP

Our resident downhill guru STEF GARLICKI looks back at his stellar 2017 season.

Photo: SEBASTIAN STERNEMANN

The 2017 season has been incredible and the breakthrough year I have been waiting for. However, as an athlete you always face challenges and sometimes you get stuck in a rut. The only way out of that is to make changes or else you will simply keep having the same outcome. This season was exactly that for me and here is the low down … Coming into the season I knew that it was time to step up as I felt a bit stuck at world cup level for the past few years and was a little unsure of how to get to the next level. I felt that I had all the pieces of the puzzle but just needed to figure out where they go. I looked at every aspect of my program from bike to diet to race prep and I decided to make two big changes. I made the call to get my own mechanic as this takes a huge amount of pressure off me at the events and enables me to focus on what I need to be doing. The next thing was pre-season prep, I changed my gym routine to include more upper body stability work plus I went to some seriously rough tracks to get my arms into gear before round One. I also made the call to go to two of the venues beforehand to get some pre-riding in to set up the bike and get comfy. These changes were a bit of an investment from myself as it required more budget but it definitely payed off as I had my best season ever! I started out with a bang going 57th in France, 35th in Scotland and 65th in Austria. What was more amazing was that I had never even qualified at those rounds in the past. This was exactly the momentum I needed and it gave me all sorts of confidence as I finally believed that I deserve to be there with the Coming into the finals in Val Di Sole I was a little unsure of what would happen as the track in 2016 was a little nuts and I was not very confident on it. However 2017 was another story and I knew things would be different with my newfound confidence. I also knew that a good result was coming as things were starting to click. I managed to get two days of riding on the track before the event which made a huge difference as I was able to get the bike set up and not have to stress about the time on track. Come event time I was ready, I knew it was time and I had a pretty perfect weekend with me getting 21st place! finally proved to myself that I can do it and can compete with the very best guys on the planet. I feel unbelievably proud pitting out of the back of a van and taking on the best riders that have Formula One style support. A lot of people don’t realize the gap in support between the factory riders and a privateer, so to be able to poke my nose in there gives all of us hope ha ha! So for all the youngsters out there, never give up on your dreams because no matter what the odds, anything is possible! 2018 is around the corner and I can’t wait! Until next time…

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