To be fair, I wasn't really stoked on the new World Cup track. After seeing some track previews and talking to racers, who were there before, practising, it really didnt sound overly amazing. But hey, give it a chance, I told myself. And shit yeah, it turned out to be pretty rad! But first things fist...
After landing back home, we (in which case I mean Rusty) had three days to get the bike ready - after seven weeks of serious shredding in NZ - and pack the van before we left again to the first stop of the World Cup in Losinj - Croatia.
What a road trip through the still slightly snowy Dolomites. Man I love those mountains. Thats also a reason I love racing. It brings you to places, you would never go. It was quite bizzare to drive from that to the lovely warm mediteranean sea.
As we arrived on the island, we soon realized, it's really gonna be a rocky one. Basically the whole island is just a pile of rocks in the sea. Awesome! Track walk was interesting. Also the talk about lines afterwards: «You know, there... next to that rock.» «Aaaah yeah, THAT rock»...
First day of practise the wake up call - as our practise starts at 8 am - was slightly harsh. It took me a couple of runs to get my lines all sorted and to wake up. I decided to not bother about the jumps at the top - I just wanted to get the rest of the track with all the gaps and drops sorted. To be fair, I felt pretty good, had heaps of fun and could open the brakes with every run.
A "little issue" then followed, as I tried to gap a rock in the lower bit which ended in a completely destroyed wheel with a broken rim, as I landed right on the sharp rock. That's by the way, the last clip in the little edit I posted above. Ooopsie... That was training over for me. But amazing Rusty built me a completely new wheel so all systems were go for the next day.
Saturday morning training was an early start again. My Transition TR11 felt awesome. Even in the very rocky section - the rocky road - it felt so stable and planted. It really let me open the brakes there. I was felling really confident for my run.
It was so good to hear the beeps again. The start was all good. I got those jumps I decided to do really nicely and could carry a lot of speed. But then, a little down into the track I got a red flag just as I saw the girl, who started in front of me, lying on the track. Healing vibes to her, it looked not nice - poor thing. So I carried my bike back up to the road and had to push back up. As I never got a rad flag in a race run, I kind of had to try and deal with that. You build up to your race run and then trying to focus anew, well, I tried.
However, the second go turned out to be not that amazing... Just a the start, in the jump section, I decided to go around the last jump, which has always been a bit skechy, as the loose gravel there was super slippery, once you got a bit of speed. So me coming in quite hot, and then it happened. Without warning my bike went and I did a "penguin". Swearing pretty loudly I got back on my bike rode the rest quite ok til i felt my back was feeling a bit funny after the rocky road. I landed the "sissy gap" and I realized, my back tyre is loosing air quite quickly. So for the last third of the track, which is really pedally through the woods and the town, I was just riding on my flat-tyre-defender.
A crash and a flat – oh well, just make it down into the finish and forget about that race, i told myself. So I was seriously suprised, when I crossed the line in 15th position - at that point still in the finals. But there were two other girls at the top, who had a re run as well and they made it down without crashes or flats so that was me out of the finals. To be fair, you shouldnt qualify at a World Cup nor with a crash or a flat, and definately not with both.
Even if it was a crappy run, I still take a lot from it. With both issues I still finished 17th with not even 6 seconds off qualifyer and 36 seconds off the winning time of that day. It tells me that I'm on pace. A clean good run, and I'm in those finals.
So with a lot of confidence and even more stokeness, I look forward to Fort Bill in a couple of weeks!#sostokedtobepumped