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August 30th, 2023

2023 World Cup #5, Pal Arinsal, Andorra

The weather early in the week was scorching hot with temperatures over 30 degrees even up at over 1,900m where the course is. The changes to the second half of the track in recent years haven’t been my favourite but it is still a fun track to ride, maybe not so much to race when there’s such thin air! This year I hadn’t done any altitude preparation specifically for this race so I was curious to see how that would play out as I felt like my current form was decent.

Ross Bell
Ross Bell

I started well in the short track and felt comfortable inside the top eight early on. After 5 laps the lights started to go out and I dropped back a lot over the last couple of laps, just managing to hold onto 24th position and a spot on the third row. It was a typical altitude blow up for me where I am good for 10 mins but then suffer after that.

I was hoping Sunday might be a different story and with a little more time to build into the race I would be able to be a little more patient. The weather changed drastically overnight, dropping to around 5 degrees with rain just before the start. I had a decent start, but my legs just felt dead and while I tried to stay patient and build into things, I just couldn’t get going the whole day.

Ross Bell
Ross Bell

I was very relieved to finally see the finish line, crossing it in 41st position, far from where I want to be and what I believe is probably my worst World Cup finishing position in the last 7 years. You learn something with every race, and I know for World Champs next year in Andorra I will need a different approach if I want to do well!


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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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