It’s that time of year again, to see if the training and preparation during the off season has paid off. For me it has been an even longer off season with missing the last few world cups last year due to injury. I was keen to see where I was at after a solid winters training and a few good results already under my belt.
I arrived on Thursday morning singed on and then set up our pits, the only thing left to tick off the list was walk the track. Having raced the BDS a few weeks previous I was sticking to a lot of my lines from that race but they had made some small changes to the track which helped it flow better, there was also a new forest section which had a few line choices so I learnt some new lines when walking the track. I got my bike set up and headed for bed keen to get started with practice in the morning.
Practice on Friday went well for me, I was feeling up to speed and having fun on the track. I was trying to get to grips with how fast it was riding compared to the British round a few weeks ago. In the afternoon I had timed practice, I decided to only do one mellow full run during this practice session to keep fresh for qualifying the next day. I had a descent time in this so was confident coming into qualifying knowing I had plenty of gas left in the tank. Contour run from timed practise
Qualifying day rolled around and I was really excited to get up there and try and lay down a solid run. I had a few practice runs in the morning to fine tune all my lines and then a long wait until my qualifying run. What felt like about 10 hours later I was on the top of the hill doing my pre race warm up and getting prepared for my run.
My qualifying run went according to plan to say the least! I hit all my lines and only held back on a few sketchy sections that I didn’t want to throw it away on. I came down across the line in a time of 4.56 which was my 1st ever sub 5 minute time down Fort Bill which I was stoked about. I was in around the mid 30’s when I crossed the line and ended up 42nd at the end of qualifying, happy was an understatement! It was a great feeling knowing that all the hard work I put in over the off season was finally starting to pay off. I had a nice meal in Hotel de la Sheridan and hit the hay ready for finals.
Race day rolled around and again I had a few hours of practice in the morning. I decided to change up a few lines from qualifying to try and get a few more seconds off the clock for finals. Once practice was over I headed up to the top of the hill with one of the Irish juniors Cameron Cornforth to help him with his warm up and provide some support before his race run. I was happy to see by the time I got down on the lift that he smashed his run and took over 10 seconds off his seeding time to finish 11th in a stacked junior field. Once the Junior race was over I got ready and headed up for my race run.
My race run was amazing, I had a fairly flawless run and the crowd the whole way down was unbelievable. It was defiantly the biggest crowd I have seen there in the past 3 years and the cheers the whole way to the bottom made the motorway a hell of a lot more bearable. I crossed the line in 6th place with a time of 4.51 almost 5 seconds quicker than my qualifying run so I was super happy. It seemed as if everyone also stepped it up for finals though as after the dust had settled and the race was over I finished up in 42nd again, must be my new lucky number!
Thanks to Dermott Sweeney Photography for the great photos from the weekend !
I am now currently sat in Edinburgh Airport on my way to the 2nd round of the UCI World Cup more excited than ever after my result last weekend.
Thanks again to all my amazing sponsors for all their support – Chain Reaction Cycles, Nukeproof, Schwalbe, Contour, 100% Eyewear, Crank Brothers & Mucky Nutz. Also a big shout out to Chris Kilmurray at Point1 Athletic Development who has me preforming at my best after a great off season of training.
Onwards and Upwards !