Fort William World Cup
This was the race to do well as if any – home track, home crowds and lots of local support. I even got an interview onto Radio Shropshire about my riding and how I was looking forward to racing Fort William. I had been quite excited about coming back to race on this track. Last year at the National I failed miserably as I had not been riding long and was not ready to take on such a huge course. I knew this year was going to be different as I had progressed a lot since last year.
After walking the track, I could see the lines I was going to take almost straight away, with only a couple I would play around with over the duration of the weekend. I was trying to prepare myself for this race more mentally than anything. The fitness would be a factor, I have not ridden anything longer than 5 minutes so would I tire? But I though that If I was strong mentally, that would at least get me the motivation even when I was fatigued.
Friday’s practice went smooth. Getting the chairlift up was nerve racking for my first run but once I got going I couldn’t stop I loved it so much!! I was feeling incredibly strong, nailing lines at the top rock sections and being brave at hitting the scarier lines. The weather held out nicely and the track was super fast. I could feel the atmosphere gradually building up.
Qualifying came round quick. It had rained hard in the late afternoon yesterday, but it made the track even quicker. I wasn’t tired so I felt really confident. I was calm before my run, trying not to freak myself out and tried to enjoy every moment. It sure worked and I was enjoying my run. I was pinning sections but was unsure of how hard to push it as I understood I would be tired for the end. I came down 17th and bitted my nails for 5 mins while the other girls came down. Fortunately, I remained in 17th and I would be riding tomorrow!
The final race itself was something else. The famous Fort William crowds were out in force and I could feel the excitement building. As soon as I left the start gate, crowds were screaming and I could hear them waving the cow bells frantically. All I wanted to do was to give them a show but thought ‘probably best I knuckle down and do this thing!’ For the first half I felt on it, making only a few mistakes, then I came round a corner and the wheels went from me, I slid out in a corner costing me valuable time. I got back on quick and panicked, I tried too hard then. It cost me and by the motorway section my legs felt like lead, I wasn’t majorly out of breath, it just felt so hard to keep my muscles relaxed and moving. I finished in 20th. Just pants. I wanted so much to get that top 15 I was quite disappointed in myself but happy at the same time I was still achieving my targets. ( Just to qualify)
However, the whole experience was fantastic. I will work hard on the fitness for next year!