Getting the chance to compete in a world cup round this season was a major step up the ladder for me. After such a long time out of the sport I was expecting the climb to this level to take a lot longer than it has - although I still have a huge journey ahead!
I have so many people to thank for such an amazing weekend with so much support, so this could be a lengthly post!
James Scott (level 3 BC coach) from High Rise Coaching has been working with me for about a year now. Although based a few hundred miles apart our set up works really well and we have achieved some great results and are slowly working our way to the top! James travelled up from London to support me over the weekend and put up with midges, moaning, nerves, excitement and my terrible jokes for four long days. I'm so grateful for his help with training/psychology/nutrition - pretty much everything that goes into becoming an elite athlete and particularly for his support at Fort William. If you haven't checked out the new website for High Rise it can be found here:
Specialized Bikes were in the team pits over the weekend and I cannot begin to thank them enough for their incredible encouragement. Not only were they the friendliest guys around, they also hooked me up with a pair of Fox 40's, a front wheel, tyres and a brake!!! We had a bit of a stress trying to sort out a headset to fit them onto my Status I but Monster Bikes from Inverness saved the day and my bike got seriously pimped just in time for Saturday practice!
The forks were amazing and made such a difference, with a little more practice I reckon I could have taken so much more time off the track, however we were called up to the start line early due to high winds picking up. After warming up like a pro with James I set off in my BC jersey and qualified 20th, just making it into the finals.
The Jaymie Mart Memorial fund award a prize to who the UCI reckon is the "best world cup rookie". I was so honoured to be awarded this after qualifying. Jaymie was absolutely pinned on a bike and I am so proud to have been given this prize under her name. This has made me even more determined to follow in Jaymie's footsteps and make it to the top of downhill racing.
After a good sleep I was feeling stoked to race in the world cup finals on Sunday! During morning practice I worked up the confidence to hit all the jumps and gaps (which I wimped out of in qualifying) and was so excited to smash my time. Big shout out to Flare Clothing Company who posted up a pair of pink Roost shorts just in time for racing and after a quick stop by the SRAM pit who fitted a new mech for me (after a minor incident involving some rocks) I headed up to the start line with coach James and mechanic Jamie.
Cannot describe how excited and nervous I felt - just completely buzzing! After a good warm up I set off feeling great but unfortunately my ride didn't go to plan and some mechanical problems in the woods meant I didn't finish. I am absolutely gutted things didn't work out but I guess that's racing. I still had an amazing weekend, met so many awesome people and achieved much more than I thought I would.
So overall, this was a super fun weekend and a huge learning experience. A massive thank you to everyone who helped me out, particularly Specialized for their incredible support and huge congrats to you guys for taking the win and the leader's jersey.
I now have 20 UCI points so I'm planning to head out to Meribel for the final UCI world cup this season and redeem myself! Next stop - British Champs at Innerleithen!