After Oceania’s I spent a week at home before jumping on the big bird to head Stateside. I arrived on Wednesday afternoon and tried to settle into daily routine as quickly as possible. Not made particularly easy by the time change and a packed schedule but I had to make do nonetheless. Come race day at Bonelli on the Saturday I felt more recovered but still not at 100% so I wasn’t expecting much. The mercury had soared to north of 35 degrees Celsius by the time the race started so staying cool was always going to be a huge priority of mine. I had a great start from the second row and hit the front early on leading into the first single-track. After half a lap I decided the pace was too fast to maintain for the remaining 6.5 laps and eased back a little to the main bunch. As the race wore on my legs felt better and better and with two laps to go I found myself fighting it out for 3rd position.
The last lap was flat out and I was very happy to come home in 3rd position especially after such a short turnaround after the long flight and the heat. The lungs took 4 days to recover after breathing in so much dust throughout the course of the race. One week later it was time for the Fontana round of the US Cup series and with HC points up for grabs instead of Cat 1 points like the week prior it was bound to be a tough day at the office! I felt amazing right from the get go and set about sticking near the front and keeping the pace high.
With 3 laps to go the race was really starting to break up as riders started to get shelled out the back. My legs still felt great and I was very confident I could take the win so I kept the pace up on the second to last lap with the intention of opening up the taps up the climb on the last lap. Everything fell into place and up the last climb I gave it beans to open up a 10 sec gap by the time we reached the descent. I kept it smooth down the hill to reach the last flat section with 1.5 km to go. From there it was a straight out drag race to the finish line where I took the win by a safe distance! I was over the moon with the result and it was great feeling to put out another world class performance against a stacked international field. Now time to head home and regroup before entering the second phase of the season. So far so good!