Unfortunately, with only just over 5 hours sleep last night I was sure the result would be less than desirable. I came to terms with this, still went through with the race and was just stoked to be there. With some in-race issues, I still enjoyed every second of it!
Well done to the NZXC Racing Team and the Oliver brothers this weekend. It was awesome to see fellow Kiwis ripping it up and having fun out there!
The start was definitely a lot different than I expected. I have been told the starts are very fast but it was slower than anticipated. Off the start line we reached 40km/h within 10 seconds. Within that 10 seconds, a crash involving 4 riders happened right in front of me. Luckily I got over the bike and didn't go down with them!
The first grass section spread the 130 riders out, giving people the chance to throw in sprints. Holding my ground, I kept the pace up until we hit the single track where about 70 riders were slowly riding or walking.
As we got on to the first decent climb, I could already see the leaders minutes ahead of us on the downhill. I tried to get through the stream of riders but it seemed never ending. The downhill following that had even more carnage from falls and rider contact so we had to walk even more.
I worked my way through the group, passing where possible. On landing of the 'Albstadt Drop' I felt my front rim hit the ground. I felt it again on the following downhill on each corner. Somewhere within the first 10 minutes I had punctured my front tyre but luckily it sealed up with the tubeless sealant. Having lost most of the air in my front tyre I kept up the race and continued to have fun.
|Tyre after the race.|
Throughout the race I started to feel more drained than usual probably due to the lack of sleep.
I made the most of each lap but still left enough in the tank for a quicker last lap. I had nearly caught the rider in front of me when we were told we had been 80% out by the leader. I was gutted about that finish but so happy I'd finished my first World Cup without a crash or any major mechanicals considering the situation.
All in all, I had so much fun and I'll never forget the race I've done today. Thanks to NZXC, Dad, BikeNZ, iRide Wellington and everyone else who has supported me!
This truly was a unique experience and it'll always be an important part of me.
Nove Mesto, Czech Republic next week - Lets hope for a better race!