I felt strong early on in the short track, moving from the 3rd row to 2nd wheel by the first corner. I found myself out front on lap 3 with one other rider after I covered his attack and as we were caught another attack went immediately which forced me to expend a huge amount of energy to stay near the front.
I spent the middle part of the race trying to recover and the last 2 laps where an all out fight to the line, from which I was able to salvage 9th place. I felt I was definitely capable of more if I hadn’t spent so much energy early on and had a little bit of juice left in the tank for the end but still satisfied to be up near the front.
"In the XCO I had a terrible start loop."
In the XCO it seemed like I was moving backwards faster than I was going forwards and I crossed the line to start lap 1 around 40th position. Thankfully my legs started to come to me and I was able to move forward through the pack. Midway through the race I found myself in the group for 16th and around 30secs from the top 10. I was feeling good and probably just a little too relaxed as I proceeded to lose my front wheel on a rooty turn and bin it. I jumped back on and hadn’t hurt myself badly but had lost the group I was in and my rhythm. I spent the next lap and a half chasing back to the group and then a lap trying to recover before the final lap drag race to the finish line. I was able to win the sprint for 16th and therefore my group which was satisfying.
There’s still a lot to improve before I’m fighting for the win but it was nice to feel good again and to win the ‘race within the race’ to finish 16th. I know the areas I need to work on and the next races at altitude will be my biggest challenge. I’ll be spending the next couple of months at altitude in Livigno, Italy during training and between races as I hope to overcome some of the difficulties I’ve had the past years with my performance at altitude. Fingers crossed the hard work pays off!
Photo credits: Ross Bell and Matt DeLorme