Well we arrived in Europe! Boy is it cool. Two weeks spent in Leogang absolutely flew by. Our accomodation was great. We lived in an apartment on a farm :) I always enjoyed going out to see all the animals. The goats and sheep especially. We would also get the best - fresh bread, and milk, most mornings. I thought I might end up getting sick of it, but that thankfully never happened.
I had an awesome time riding new bike parks in that area. Luckily I was able to tag along with the Kona crew to ride two other bike parks - Schladming, and Saalbach. They were a lot of fun. Over all three, I must say Shladming was my favourite! The straight two weeks of riding definetely got me in the right frame of mind for the race week. Getting to know some locals helped me understand the track and terrain a bit more. By race week I was feeling incredible on my bike...
The forecast called for rain, and it didn’t lie! The beginning of the course was actually better with the rain… but the bottom section, in the woods, became an absolute mud fest. I found a way to enjoy it though. I felt right at home, as at home it rains 8 out of 12 months during the year. Crashes were had, and slip ups were made during practice, but nothing I couldn’t fix for my races runs.
On the day of qualifications, I was extremely excited. Man I was feeling it! The practice laps went well and smooth. The atmosphere was intense but I did my best to not let it get to me. At the top I expected to be more nervous, but I was actually quite chilled out and calm. Butterflies hit my stomach as soon as I got in the start gate, but that’s about it for the nerves. At the beginning of my qualies run I rode smooth and safe as I really wanted to make it down in one piece, yet still make the top 25 cut off. The split times said I was on pace to qualify. Around one third of the way down I hit a compression really hard, that caused my rear tire to go flat.
I rode the rest of the track on my rim. Which was brutally slow, but quite the ride. Finishing that race was the one thing on my mind, and I did it. It definetly was not the way I wanted it to go, but I went from top to bottom! At the time it felt like everything I had worked for was gone, but I quickly gathered myself, and learned from it. There wasn’t much I could do in that situation. The understanding that I was on pace to compete with some of the best in the world was good comfort. I just have to keep my bike in top condition, and my body healthy! I am so thankful to be out here doing what I love, and I am really looking forward to the coming destinations!