Friday, July 4, 2014

Euro Trip Part 3 - Leogang World Cup

The next stop on my month long Euro-trip was Leogang, Austria for World Cup #4.  It was a long and cramped drive from Fort William, but there was some amazing scenery to make the journey more interesting and we also got to drive on the Autobahn through awesome to have no speed limit!
Amazing views in Austria
We had a pretty sweet set-up at Tarlack Apartments, our home for 5 days...our balcony backed onto the bottom of the bike park and we could watch the "Red Bull 26 Tricks", the "Four Cross World Champs" and the last couple sections of the DH track right from our balcony!
The view from our pad
All that awesomeness aside, it was time to get out on the course and check things out.  I was pretty pumped on the course, and conditions were pretty epic.  This was another first on the World Cup circuit for me and a course I felt would suit me pretty well. During course walk, outside of engraving the course into my brain, I was also treated to some amazing views!

There were some thundershowers through the evening before the first day of practice and it made things pretty slick for the first lap.  Unfortunately on my first run I had a pretty major crash and sliced up my hand and ripped through my knee pad.  I was a bit shaken up, but after a brief "time-out" and a change of gloves and armor I headed back up the hill.  Thankfully the track had dried up a bit and things felt a little more normal.  I ended up having to take it easy on the first day, and hoped that for qualifications I could turn things around.

There were about 40 women racing in Leogang (a fairly large field) so I had to put down a clean run to ensure I qualified.  I played it a bit conservative, but it was good enough for a top 20 finish and a trip to Finals!  It was a bit of a nail-biter watching the rest of the field come through so I was relieved when I manged to just squeak through. 
Photo credit:  Sven Martin
After a quick suspension tune from Marzocchi suspension god, Piedro, I was ready for finals on Sunday! With really nothing to lose I wanted to just giver'er and leave it all on the course for finals. The track was in pretty mint condition and thanks to heaps of Ibuprofen I was feeling up to the challenge!
Photo credit: Sven Martin
I didn't quite keep it together in my race run, and had a minor crash in the top section of the course.  I finished strong though and after all was said and done I still ended up 20th.  While I was glad to have raced in finals, I was certainly looking to better my position and am looking for even better results. This was one more step closer to gaining the experience needed to be up in the top 10.

I think over the three weeks of racing I certainly overcame some personal obstacles and pushed my envelope to gain a whole new level of experience.  I was pretty stoked to have finally made it to Europe to race, and can't wait to do it all again next year.

To help celebrate all the hard work, it was time for more adventuring in Italy for another 10 days! While there was no more racing on the schedule for our Euro-trip, there was definitely no shortage of bike riding!

Stay tuned for more...