LEOGANG, AUSTRIA Well the race is over, and I came out with another podium. 3rd this time amongst the worlds best. Bryn had a crash in the first turn and still places 24th in an impressive field. Will be awesome when it clicks for him, the speed is obviously there.
I was really glad we came out to this event. IXS cups have been running for several years in Europe. They have European cup, German cup, Swiss cup, etc. http://www.ixsdownhillcup.com/. We have heard of the numbers they get, but I guess last week in Germany they had over 600 entries, here there were 450 people registered. It's crazy how many people were riding. I was also impressed at the quality of bikes, seemed like everyone had blinging bikes with good parts. The bike economy is thriving Europe..
With World Champs being here in August, and the World Cup in Italy next week, the timing of this event brought a World Cup caliber rider list. So many random people as well though, It wasn't until qualifying that you could put in full runs, without someone getting in the way. The holes and ruts were insane here. It was sunshine for all of practice and racing, but the days before practice saw nothing but rain the whole week.
Either way, this course is sweet, and the mountains are so huge and powerful across the valley. Really beautiful with the stream running through and the green fields in front of the mountains. If it wasn't for all the ham and bread you have to eat, I could easily spend a lot more time here:) Swine, argg.
Race wise for me, The womens' field had 30 entries. The euro girls are lucky to have so much competition close to home. The only two girls in the top 10 missing were Frenchy and pom pom. Not sure if Sabrina is healthy again , but you get the idea. Rachel is back to full force, Ragot is on her game, Pugin is healed up, Tracey hannah is ripping, as are several others. I'm enjoying racing everyone and learning, gaining speed weekly. Hopefully they get better prize money for the women's field in the future, cause I would do more of these events. Every race like this should be bare minimum $1000 for first, I think.
Big thanks to our Swiss mechanic Alain Hall, who has been a key part of our success. Ol Swissy:) I wrote an article about how to "break in a world cup mechanic" in the latest issue of Revolution magazine (aussie mag)
Anywho, it takes a bit to be a solid dh racer, and adapt to new countries, terrain, speeds, etc... Breaking seems to one of the most important things at the highest level. Fine line. For qualifying, there were no points or anything, reward was getting the full run in, so for me I exposed some key braking points, and the sequence of piecing sections together. So for the final I was able to take off near 10 seconds. Pretty happy with that to go sub 4 min. Such a rough track, but I am in much better condition to contend this season, and the medium Aurum was a good move for me for all this rough high speed action, so I was loving it. Rachel 1st, Ragot 2nd, me, Pugin, Tracey. Think Tracey had a crash near the end, but that's racing.
For the men, Gee had a crash in seeding and was in the hot seat forever. He was showing off all his kinesthesiology tape on his battered ankles? he went pretty fast for his first race back after a broken leg, plus that crash in seeding. He wasn't able to go Minnaar fast though. Greg with the win, Then Stevie smith, Brooke MacDizzle , Spagnolo, and Gee. Poor Nick Beer set the fastest time in seeding, but made a big mistake. Consistency is key, but good work to him, ol Bic Neer:). Troy Brosnan took a hard crash in practice, and had to go to hospital for some internal stomach stuff. Sucks, cause he was in prime form..
Bunch of people are riding today, doing fox testing. Justin, our tech isn't here, so we are taking the day off to regroup and prepare for next week in Val Di Sole. Gonna need as much strength as possible for that race. It's ping pong over roots the whole way. Heard there were gonna be some changes, so we will see. Last year the soil disappeared by sunday, adn we were just left with roots and rocks pretty much...
Thanks my sponsors- Red Bull, Norco, Crankbrothers, Fox, Shimano, Renthal, Maxxis, e.13, 5.10, Dakine, Oakley, Fizik, Cane Creek, Park Tool, Troy Lee helmets, Alpine Stars protection, Motorex, Stan's notubes, Jetblack trainers, and eSoles.
C ya. Jill