Training had gone really well over the past few weeks and I’d made some big leaps forward with my numbers in training. With the introduction of some more intensity back into my programme I was feeling much more prepared for the next round of the Swiss Cup in Gstaad. Due to Covid-19 restrictions we were unable to practice the race track until the morning of the race.
I woke up to rain and headed to the track after breakfast. My first lap of the track was insanely slick in places, especially the first descent which was an open grass descent which had turned to greasy off camber mud. On XR1 Summer tyres it was nothing short of scary so I returned to the pits to chuck on an XR2 2.0 on the rear and an XR Mud on the front. This made a huge difference and I was pretty much set on those tyres unless the weather was to change. The forecast rain stayed away for the afternoon and with the race start not until 5pm the track was bound to have dried out somewhat but to what extent was anyone’s guess. I decided to take the XR Mud off the front and chuck on another XR2 2.0 on the front to match the rear.
As soon as we went racing I was glad I no longer had the mud tyre on as the track had dried out remarkably. I certainly wasn’t in need of XR2’s any longer and would have preferred to be back on the XR1’s but it’s always better to be overgripped than take the gamble and be undergripped on a slick track.
It was a uniquely Swiss track with a couple of steep climbs early in the lap followed by a few flat and fast km’s. This made for a very fast and tactical race and it wasn’t until the halfway mark that things started to settle down and a solid front group of 5 or so riders formed. With 3 laps to go I was feeling in pretty good shape but Mathias Flueckiger had already jumped away solo off the front which left the rest of us to fight it out for second place. I pushed hard up the first climb on the last lap and gradually increased my lead over the chasers until the finish to claim second place. It was really nice to be back on an International podium and for all my hard work in training the last month to pay off.