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June 24th, 2023

2023 WC#3 Leogang, Austria

Leogang was our first back-to-back World Cup race weekend of the year and one of my most successful venues in recent years. On Friday morning I felt strong on course and was confident of a good result in short track to set me up well for the XCO. After solid weekends in Nove Mesto and Lenzerheide my World Cup overall ranking of 15th allowed me to start from the second row this time around in Leogang instead of 40th!

Ross Bell

I settled into the top 10 on the opening laps before dropping a couple of spots mid race. I felt comfortable though and was able to climb back up a few more positions over the last part of the race. On a frantic last lap, I fought myself back up to 8th to take the last spot on the front row for Sunday.

Ross Bell
Ross Bell

In the XCO I noticed pop and crack noises come from my saddle after the first 150m or so and realised that it had somehow broken. The nose of the saddle had come unstuck where the top padding is glued to the carbon base. I figured it would be best to complete the full start loop as although the saddle was a little awkward and uncomfortable it was still rideable. I knew if I stopped too early in the race I would get swamped by even more riders and have to waste even more energy to pass them again.

After the start loop was complete my saddle was still hanging on well enough that I thought I would be able to make it one more lap so out I went again. At the end of the first full lap, it was really starting to dismantle itself and I had no choice to come into the pits for a change. Thankfully the change was quick as a new seat post with a pre-mounted saddle was installed. I was able to get back out there with not too much time lost but the new saddle angle felt awkward along with a slightly higher seat height I had a hard time getting used to.

Ross Bell

I kept my head in the fight and managed to hang in there, picking up a few more places over the last laps to finish a very respectable 8th and earn my best finish of the season.

Looking forward to the next one in Val di Sole!

Ross Bell

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Cycling has always been a huge part of my life as I have been riding ever since I could walk. I see mountain biking as an adventure and a challenge.
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