I was keen to bounce back from the disappointment of World Champs and my first shot at redemption started with the Short Track on Friday night. I knew things were unlikely to be too much better as it was only 5 days since the XCO race in Val di Sole and the fact we were now racing above 1500m elevation which has never suited me well on limited prep. I was feeling a lot fresher though after a few easy days more like my usual self.
Getting a front row start for the short track was handy and allowed me to get out front for the first lap of the XCC and ride my own pace for a little while at least.
The pace soon heated up and I was cautious not to go too deep into the red zone as at altitude you can get into a really big hole.
I managed to ride close to my limit but not over and tried to ride my own race, finishing in 18th place, just outside the top 16 and a spot on the 2nd row for Sunday. Overall, it was a satisfying performance and I felt much better than the weekend prior, especially considering the altitude, but things weren’t about to get any easier in the XCO!
I got a bit screwed over right at the start when the rider in front of me didn’t slot in between the riders on the front row which pushed me back onto the 4th row and hard up against the fence. I entered the first single-track already way down on the leaders close to 50th position.
I focused on making up positions where I could and with minimal effort so I didn’t go too deep too early. It was important to stay calm and just focus on making the best of a bad situation. I was picking off riders lap by lap and although I wasn’t feeling at my very best, I was a heck of a lot better than the weekend prior.
I had worked my way up close to the top 20 with 2 laps to go before a rear puncture cost me some valuable time and a bunch of positions. I managed to bring it home for 30th position in the end. Frustrated by some aspects of the race but also satisfied with others. I’m looking forward to the final World Cup race of the year in Snowshoe, USA and the chance to improve some more.