Just recently I wrote on my other blog www.blog.engadin.online about the immense heart ache that goes into racing. You sacrifice so much to finally get your results. But standing on that podium, thats when you forget about all the negativ parts of racing.
Well, first things first. Our big thee weeks race road-trip was due. Willingen - Fort William - Leogang. I was buzzing. After my bad luck at the World Cup in Losinj I was so looking forward to racing, especially in Fort William. On our way up there we planned to go an visit our Dutch friends we met in Queenstown, and that's why Willingen was kind of on the way as well. So only a couple of weeks before, we signed up fo the second round of the IXS Downhill Cup in Willingen. We had such a fun weekend as my good friend Tessa and her boyfriend Tim joined us and raced as well. Tessa is not only a rad rider, she's also an awesome personal trainer - she writes all my training plans and gives me all the torture exercises to make me hold on to my bike and shred hard. It was great to train with them and give them some racing tipps.
For the first time, I had the 101 - the elite ladies nr. 1 number plate on my bike, so the pressure was on.
I enjoyed the track. Willingen is basically just a big BMX track. Nothing gnarly, just fast and fun more or less straight down the hill. Quali went well and I finished on the top sport, yey. Rusty had a good run as well and finished 15th in the Pro Masters Category.
Next day was race day and a good test if I could keep my nerves. Being last down the hill, the first time for me, and not messing anything up can be quite a challenge. All went well though and I could repeat my performance from the day before. I finished in 2:17 more than 5 seconds faster than Elisa Schwemmer on second and Roos Op de Beck on third. Rusty was slightly unlucky - he had a tree encounter on his race run and finished on the disappointing 21st place.
With Elisa on second we had a double Transition TR 11 Podium - awesome, so we had to celebrate with a proper champagne shower!
The win in Willingen gave me a proper boost so I was full of confidence for the second round of the UCI Downhill World Cup in Fort William. We took our time driving up to Scotland, visiting friends an family on the way up there.
I just love the track in Fort Bill - long rocky and quite a few really cool jumps... Like basically everyone, I had a few issues last year in the woods so I was really stoked they sorted it out. Oh man, the trail crew put so much effort in that and it was just great to ride. I mean, I'm a rock girl - I just love rocks.
In training had my lines sorted pretty quickly an could just work on carrying speed through the sections. I felt really confident and strong on the bike so I couldnt wait to race!
My qualirun went smooth. I was a bit insecure on the top corners so I didnt really attack them. I knew that I'm gonna make the time in the long techy bits so I rode the top til the beginning of the rocks a bit on the cautious side.
All went well til disaster struck. I came a bit squirmy into the road gap and didnt land as much to the right as I wanted and came a bit too much inside into the next corner. And with the track beeing super dry and loose, my bike washed sideways. No issue if I hadnt gone over the berm with the front wheel and then trough the tape down into the dich. I had to climb back up onto the track, walk up and around the next uphill corner and go around the double afterwards because I didnt have the speed.
I finished on the disappointing 18th place, only 4,4 seconds behind qualifying. I was devastated like never before. I so should have been in those finals there. The bike was just perfect, it was my track, my weekend - but no.
Scotland the perfect stage - not for me this time.
There was not a lot of time to be sad as the next round of the world cup was just around the corner. So we left Scotland just after my run and drove all the way to Leogang in Austria for the weekend after. I knew that qualifying there would be a tough one - with 43 women racing and a high speed course in a bikepark the times the times would gonna be veeeery close. Leogang and me have a bit a history - let's say a bit of a love-hate relationship. With two messed up races and one podium there I'm still not overly friends with the track. I think Leogang an me only work in the very wet. However, I gave it a chance and kept an open mind.
For a change, my friend Mirka Garland from Super Alloy Racing, who sorts me out with an awesome spring for my shock, took me out for a nice relaxing spa visit after the first training day. Pool, sauna and a great massage was just the perfect thing after a three weeks race marathon.
I had my issues and crashes in training, sorted them out on the second training day though and was ready for racerun. You think Fort William was a disaster - oh well just wait! WC Leogang 2018 turned out to be my worst race run ever.
It all started in the start gate. Somehow I managed to touch the barrier and set off the timing before I actually started, stalled and then touched the side pole with my front wheel so I nearly fell out of the start hut. I tried to focus and after this start mess but before I knew I was on the off line on the second grassy bit at the top before it joined from the new "potato field section" into the old track.
After a stall there the rest of the track was ok until I came into the rooty section after the wallrides where I crashed. After that my race spirit was gone and I just made it down without trying too hard anymore. The result was as expected - terrible. 31st with 20 seconds off qualifyer. No suprise there!
It seems that I struggle mentally at the world cups. I know, I should be in those finals. The bike couldnt be more perfect, my fitness and strength has never been better and the speed is there. Obviously the pressure of qualifying just plays with my mind. Something I truly have to work on. I also know that my joker tracks - Val di Sole and Andorra - are coming up. There's my name all over those tracks - my favourite ones ever. And this weekend is Cranworx time. Also one to take my mind from the whole qualifying-issue. I love Crankworx it's just a great bike festival and you spend soooo much time riding your bike. It's good to have a bit of a world cup break so I can reboot and then attack!
There are so many people supporting and believing in me: Rusty Martin - who keeps my bike perfect and helps me wherever he can. Tessa Müller-Lindloff - there is no better personal trainer out there than her. Denise and Laurent from Magic Downhill / Transition Bikes and Renthal. The super crew from ION Switzerland, Mirka Garland from Super Alloy Racing, the people from Skiservice Corvatsch, Sergio Tschenett from The Bike Patcher who helped me becoming a brand ambassador for FOX suspension and last but not least Brett from Engadin Bikes who is always super helpful and supportif wherever he can. And then all the people who sit there and keep their fingers crossed for me - including you, reading this blog til the very end... ;-) It means so much for me and I'm truly thankful having your support. «Fail, fall, rise, grow». Or like good old Johnny Cash once said: «You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.»
And there is one film quote out of «Lock, stock and two smoking barrels» which sums up the last three weeks perfectly:
«One last thing. It's been emotional!»