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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Windham World Cup #5

Next stop on the three week journey was Windham, NY for World Cup #5....This was my first time racing this course and from watching last year's race I knew there were some big jumps, and I had heard that rain could be a mjor factor here, since the dirt is very clay like and super slippery when wet!  Thankfully this year I was more prepared with a tire selection to fit the bill just in case....
Top of the race course


In the end though, we had nothing but sunny skies and it was dry, dusty and loose!  I was pretty pumped, because a lot of the top section was kind of Pemberton like, with some steep and loose shoots...lots of fun.  
Big gap jump in the top section
Throughout course walk and the first day of practice almost all us girls were wondering how we were going to hit all the huge jumps...apparently they were built even bigger this year!  After a few good warm up laps it was time to session some of them...I hadn't ever hit gap jumps this big before, but I was confident enough to do three of them.  Me and fellow Canadian ripper, Lauren Rosser, teamed up to seesion the first big 35-40 footer (so we were told by the trail buliders)...the plan, no breaks and pedal hard - The plan worked and it felt amazing to conquer a jump that big!  That definitely gave me the confidence to hit the big step down box jump at the end as well...but I just couldn't wrap my head around the big road gap and the massive finish line jump so I opted to do the ride around on them.  Considering my major crash the weekend before, I really coud not afford to risk another big crash:(   
The rock garden...thank god for the sign:)
By qualification day I was feeling good and had most of my lines all dialed.  I felt like I was riding well and was confident heading into the start gate.  My run went fairly good with just a few minor errors up top...but I cased the step down box jump big time and was so close to crashing...I probably had the save of my life riding that one out...entirely on my front tire, I am still not even sure how I saved it but was sure glad I did.  When I came through the finish line, I was sure that the error cost me a spot in finals but when I looked up at the big screen there I was sitting in 15th!!  I was able to hold onto that position and was really stoked on my RESULT!

Now it was time to prepare for finals, and my plan was to just perfect all my lines, and not to bother with stressing over hitting any more of the big jumps that I hadnn't already hit.  On race day I was pumped, and little bit more relaxed than for Quali's...I started my race run off well, and despite getting sucked off course a bit - by a cross rut coming out of the first sandy chute - I felt pretty solid in the top section.  As I made my way through the snaking turns of the middle section though I washed out in one of the corners just before heading into the rock garden!  I was super bumped, but tried to get back on the bike as quickly as possible...probably only loosing about 12-15 seconds.  I had another close call on one of the jumps heading into the finish line, but pulled it out and crossed the line with a 3:29.  Not really the run I was hoping for, but I really did try to leave everything on the race course and despite the crash ended up 19th in Finals!
Heading into the steep sandy chute
It was such a crazy race for the women...Tracey Hanna busting her seat off on the landing of the final finish line jump, Emmeline Ragot having that major crash righ at the finish line as she landed that same jump, and Rachel jumping off course over the road gap...it all made for some exciting racing and in the end Rachel came away with another win.  For the men, Aaron Gwin took the win...but it was a great day for Canada with Stevie Smith riding his way into 2nd place finish...so close to Gwin!

Overall I was pretty happy with the weekend and to have a world cup finals race under my belt!  Not much time for celebration though as it was time to head back to Mont Sainte-Anne for Canadian National Champs...one step closer to the end of this journey and getting the much needed work on the injuries from my crash the week before.  My body was definitely feeling the effects of my crash at this point and I really could not wait for some really good physio, massage,  and chiro!!!