5 Lessons learned from my first World Cup Short Course
What an experience! Lining up with the likes of Annika Langvad, Jolanda Neff, Maja Wloszczowska and about forty other freaks of nature who are all there to rip each others legs off.
Leading into the XCC I had some serious nervous energy, my first proper World Cup race as an elite women. The track was open and had no technical features, perfect conditions for a drag race.. and unfortunately the horse power in my pins is not what i’d call a strength of mine.. fortunately for me there was a nasty little climb which seemed to suit me..
Lesson No. 1 - Remember your back number or come equipped with a fast rider who can fetch it for you.
As I got in the start box I looked around, firstly I was a little overwhelmed at how professional everyone looked. I looked around again - everyone had a number pinned on their back. Everyone except for me. I looked over at Dave and he sent Mick on a mission to get my number from home and bring it back. Just in the nick of time Mick came back, number in hand and started pinning it on as I was being called up. Pinning on a number becomes a little more complicated on the move..
Lesson No. 2 - This one is not the first time I’ve learnt this lesson, but no matter how many times you practice your lines, there is a 99% chance you won’t get to use them.
I tend to find that I would practice a line and think it was perfect, only to have 40 other girls trying to ride that same line come race day (*See Lesson No. 3 )
Lesson No. 3 - Chop or be Chopped
I think this is one for all aspects of World Cup racing. Especially in the mid to rear of the field, it doesn’t matter how much you think you own the line, there is someone who is willing to put their life on the line to take it. So ya just gotta get crazy.. and if you see a line take it even if it’s a bit agricultural. Also don’t be afraid to hurt someone’s feelings, World Cups are a little different to National Series rounds where everyone knows everyone and it’s kinda rude to be a mad chopper.
Lesson No. 4 - When someone starts ping ponging off barricades in front of you, shift down gears so it’s easier to get going again after you run into them. If not you’ll look like a real hubbard trying to grind up the next hill in you 10 tooth chainring…
Lesson No. 5 - Aussie’s are just awesome.
This lesson was also not a new one for me, but it is very humbling when I receive so many messages of support and encouragement irrelevant of my performance.
It’s also pretty cool when Aussie’s like photographic wizard Matt Rousu come say Hello when you’re in the stressin’ in the start pen.
All in all, even with it’s hiccups my first short track was an awesome experience, I loved every minute of it. I really hope I get the opportunity to race another one while I am over here. It’s not everyday you get to race the worlds best in such close proximity,. it’s very humbling and puts a bit of fuel in the fire.
All photo's thanks to Matt Rousu !