I’d had a good block of training in NZ prior to arriving in Germany but no XCO racing to speak of since National Champs back in February. I’d kept busy with some road racing and marathon races throughout March and April in New Zealand but nothing that compares to the intensity and level of World Cup racing. I was still pretty confident in my form and was looking forward to seeing how I would stack up against all of the best mountain bikers in the world.
The 20 minute short track race on Friday night served as a good opener for Sundays XCO race and I rode well enough to come home in 11th place and secure a second row start position for the main race 2 days later.
In the cross-country race, I had a good start and completed the start loop in around 10th position without having to dig too deep to do so. After the first couple of full laps, I was still in the mix and starting to pick off a few more riders with the leaders in sight.
I’d moved up to 5th position midway through the race and found myself in no man’s land for a couple of laps, kind of in limbo between the 4 leaders and the chasing pack. I tried to ride a good consistent tempo and felt like I did a good job of that, however I got picked off with half a lap to go by a resurgent Tom Pidcock who I’d managed to catch and pass a couple of laps earlier.
In the end I was stoked to come home in 6th position, only 30 seconds from the winner Victor Koretzky. For the opening world cup of the season, it was everything I could have asked for and gives me great confidence in my training and the races ahead.