Well things have finally gotten underway for the 2017 world cup season and round one is in the books!
I flew to Europe two weeks prior to the first race to get settled and get some training in at a long track. I ended up getting my bikes and then did a trip down to Lugano, Switzerland followed by San Remo, Italy. These few days riding at each spot was crucial to get the bikes set up and get my arms ready to go! I was feeling really good heading to Lourdes and physically I felt better than ever so I was excited to get the season rolling.
I worked quite a bit on bike suspension setup and we had some new tires from Schwalbe which definitely added to my excitement. The bike was feeling unreal! I also had the added bonus of having my amazing girlfriend with me to watch the event so things were looking up until we got there only to find snow at the top of the track. SO much for European summer! Luckily for us it did dry up by practice the next day and the track was running really well, unbelievably well actually! I managed to squeeze in four runs on the first practice day followed by three the next day before qualifying and I was confident that I would have a good run if I held my composure.
I felt the pressure a bit and almost crashed in turn one! Somehow I manged to save it and pushed as hard as I could the rest of the way down which slotted me into 75th. This was by no means where I wanted to be but the gap between 30th and 80th was just six seconds! The level is insane and I was stoked to qualify for the finals at the first round of the season. However, I was not done yet and I still had race day left. I knew I had left some time up on the hill and just needed to put things together to have a result I know I am capable of. There was a bit of concern on race day as there was a storm looming and the wind was crazy which was worrying. I think there were a lot of riders praying for the rain to hold off as this track is one of the most slippery tracks known to man when it’s wet!
I got through practice and felt good, just needed to tidy things up for the race run. I was at the top warming up and the clouds were rolling in with a couple of rain drops every now and then to keep us on edge. The wind was also gusting like mad so I was a little concerned about the jumps but thought hey, it’s just one run that I have to get through.
Next thing I knew I was in the gate and on my way, again in the first rock garden I made a silly mistake which almost sent me over the bars! Somehow, I saved it and managed to nail the rest of the track as best I could, however my time was just 0.3 seconds faster than the day before which was a bit annoying. However, I realised after the fact that due to the wind gusting there were not too many riders going much faster and my mistake definitely cost me.
I watched the rest of the race and literally as the top 10 riders started the rain started to fall and next thing we knew it was an ice rink. There was no chance anyone could get even remotely close to the top spot which sucks for them but everyone else got a little gift handed to them. It was a shame but that’s racing and I have been on the other end of the spectrum on more than one occasion so I’ll take it. I ended up 57th, my best ever European world cup result and my best start to a season yet, so I am pumped!
Thanks so much to everyone in my corner, could not do it without you … on to Scotland!
Until next time …