Canberra World Cup! Photo Above: The finish line. What a fantastic atmosphere at the World Cup! It’s a shame it always has to rain at these events though.
I decided to take my bike down to Canberra despite my wrist still in a cast. I hadn’t been on my DH bike since the crash earlier in the month. I did sneak out for an extended XC loop into work at the start of the week, but that was the extent of my ‘training’ for the World Cup.
Without knowing if I could even ride or hold on, I figured if I didn’t bring my bike I would be spewing. We arrived to Canberra on the Wednesday night and my bike failed to turn up. Apparently it was still in Brisbane. Not a good start to the weekend. It arrived the next morning so that was all ok.
Practise was sketchy and I struggled to hold on with my left hand and also reach the rear brake. I also could not lift the front of the bike too easily. Feeling very unfit and not confident, I decided to rule out hitting any of the big jumps and just roll down the track. By race day I figured I may as well race. I kind of hoped that I didn’t qualify so then I could watch the main race in the afternoon. Not the best attitude I know, but it’s not like I was in top form for the race!
I came in 21st place with only the top 20 qualifying. So I guess I got my wish! It was pouring with rain, and not very inviting to get back out on the bike. So I sat back and watched the pros!
Well done to Tracy Moseley and Greg Minnar for taking the win.
The after party was out of control as per normal. I am feeling very tired now. I can’t wait for the Nationals, hopefully I will be fully recovered and in fine form by November.
Thanks to Tony and Sacha for being my support crew, driver, caddie etc (TEAM RUTTER). Thanks to Annette for lending us her car and to Jimmy from Bikeology (www.bikeology.com) for keeping my bike running nicely over the weekend.
Photo above: My first time on the bike in ages… Wrist in cast. Rolling around the car park at Canberra World cup.
Photo above: The start ramp. Photo: Looking down the track from the midway point.
Photo above: This bit was tricky with my broken wrist. My hand kept bouncing off the bars.
Photo above: Dust and rocks.
Photo above: The top rock garden.
Photo above:Me and the Aussie Flag Photo above: the bottom part of the track. PHoto above: Me and the crowds! I was feeling lame because I didn’t do the big jumps. I felt like yelling out “I have a broken wrist!”
Photos above: Poor Matti Lehikoinen. Broke both his wrists. After 6 hours worth of operations he got a total of 12 screws, 3 metal plates, 3 pins. At least his mates got him a jug of beer with a straw so he could still drink.
Photo above: Sacha and I. After qualifying in the rain.
Very wet race. Did the 4X and the DH. I actually did better in the 4X! Ended up 9th place and didn’t qualify for the final. Gold Coast track just isn’t my track. I enjoy it, but just don’t seem to go fast on it!!!
Monday, 10 November 2008
Scary section of the track. Straight after this it went almost vertical.
Elite women washing bikes. While some of the Elite mens fathers did theirs. haha
The Adelaide Nationals Round 1 has been raced and the dust has settled. Finally a dry nationals race! Although its a pain, I am thinking that I race better in the rain, so maybe I should pray for rain... This time I decided to not race the XC and focus on the DH. Last year it was easier to do both as I was living in Adelaide, but this year it was just too hard. The aim of the race was to get some confidence back and not break any bones! Last year at the Adelaide round I finished in 5th place in Elite Women. After a very very busy weekend visiting friends, family, practising the track, going to a wedding on Saturday night and then racing, I was exhausted. And that was before the race even began. The track had changed slightly since the year before, making it shorter and faster in sections. A few tricky sections had been removed and a couple of new interesting parts added. The start mound of the track had been made higher meaning you didn't have to pedal as much out of the gate. However after the first berm, there was a jump over 2 large rocks/boulders, into a tight corner. It was quite daunting. If you didn't get enough lift off the lip you would case your wheel into the rocks (hopefully not the front wheel...). I didn't do the jump on the Friday as my confidence was fairly limited. Saturday morning, I rolled into it a few times and finally turned my brain off to hit it. As is always the case with these things, it was easy when I finally did it. There was another new section where the track that cut through a loose rocky section and dropped into the old rock garden. This was hard to do fast, as there were often loose rocks over the track. I had a few moments there in practice, but wasn't too worried about that bit when it came race time. I also did the creek gap (dry water run off area with large rocks about 2m gap), that I hadn't done before so I was stoked. There is a large set of doubles at the bottom of the track that I didn't build up to, which cost me time, but I will hit those next time! Me hitting (ok casing...) the creek gap.
It was nice to see that even though I have been off the bike for a while that I can still ride. A nice confidence boost. Although it would have been nice to go well in the results (I ended up 9th), I was happy with how I went. Hey, I didn't break any bones or anything on my bike, so that's got to be good! The next race is in 4 weeks at Illinbah in the Gold Coast Hinterland. Its a long track so my arms will struggle with their lack of strength. But hopefully I can work on that rapidly between now and then.
DAMN WRISTS So I have managed to get back on the bike, and fall off again... I badly bruised my right wrist (I initially thought it was broken, but it's ok). The Round 1 of the Australian National Series is on this weekend in Adelaide. Keep tuned, and I will fill you in on how I go.
CANBERRA STATE ROUND RACE Photo above: This is the gap jump that I crashed on and broke my wrist.
So, my big goal for the year was to race the Canberra World Cup round in the DH in August. I wanted to go to Canberra for an ACT state race before the World Cup to get in some practice so I could do my best at the Worlds. I have never really felt good on the Mt Stromlo track, so now was my chance to get some confidence up and learn some good lines. I booked a quick trip down to Canberra, flying down at 6am on the Saturday, then flying out at 6.30pm on the Sunday. I went by myself and hired a car.
The track had changed a bit since last time I raced there at the Australian Nationals. There is a new rock garden at the top and it is about 100m longer. There was also some new drops and jumps thrown in. All was going well on the Sunday morning and I was confidently hitting some of the bigger jumps and A lines. When it was final race time I was a bit worried about the wind on some of the jumps because it tended to blow people off course. While racing I decided that I would have to ‘harden up princess’ and hit the bigger jump in the wind (see main photo top). I thought it may not have been such a great idea when I got blown over in mid air and landed on my head, knee and wrist. I ended up breaking my left wrist and am most likely not going to be able to race in 4 weeks (hey I am struggling to type….). So I have had a change of focus and now it is on the National Series (starting in November). I will aim to get selected for the World Cup Champs next year.
Monday, 28 July 2008
Photo: Cara Photo: Claire. Photo: Me.
Photo left: in the waiting room waiting for an X-ray.
UPPER BROOKFIELD DH RACE Photo thanks to Nicole Photography. It was a very close end to the Queensland DH series with only 13 points separating me and 1st place at the final race. So I had to win the final race to win the series.
With a spectacular crash at the last corner, I thought all hopes were gone. But I must have pinned it up the top of the track and managed to win by 3 secs, which made me the QLD Elite Women DH State Champ.
Tuesday, 1 July 2008 Photo above: Just after the crash. Determined to win!
Toowoomba is a nice track, tricky and rocky in places, and fast and tight in others. Saturday was dry and the track was sandy in places. I had a few close calls in the sand nearly resulting in the first stack for the Mini dee (my new Commencal Supreme Mini Dh).
Saturday night it rained and rained and rained. We tried to find somewhere to eat and Sizzler (yep they still have them here in QLD!) had a line up outside! Apparently Jimmy Barnes was playing so most accommodation was booked out, so were places to eat. It continued to rain.
Sunday morning, the track was slippery and clayey. It started to tack up a bit when the sun peaked through the clouds. The competition was good in the Elite women's field. Although there were only 3 contenders for the crown, it was anyone's race. Photo: Me through the rock garden.
There was the local girl, Sam who rides a bit ragged and loose, but that was perfect for the course which was dry and loose and sometimes rocky in the corners. Although only new to the DH scene she had the home track advantage.
Then there is Lea. She is a fast rider, gutsy and smooth. Lea has raced the track before and has been top of QLD DH scene in Elite women for a while. She tried to fix her bike a few nights before the race and lost the rebound in her rear shock. So she was riding an old short travel mongoose (sounds like it’s a disadvantage, but I actually think it was better suited to the track).
Then there was me. I like to think I am smooth and nimble on tighter courses and I tend to ride well in the wet. I have come up on top for the last 2 races against the other two girls. So, if it were horse racing, I'm not sure who the favourite would have been. Photo: me near the bottom of the track.
In the qualifying run the course was wet but starting to become tacky in places. The local girl Sam, had a spectacular stack on the last corner over a double. Lea had a clean run. I got stuck in some soft dirt on a tricky corner for a bit, then pinned it down a rocky fast section and lost the front wheel somewhere and had Mini dees first crash. I’m not sure what happened but rider and bike where dis-attached from each other.
Race time came around and the heavy rain and then more rain meant the track was very very wet and slippery. The clay had lost any kind of grip that it had earlier. This would be by far the trickiest wet track I have raced on.
We all got stuck off the track on the same tricky corner and Lea had a crash on a steep rock/cement chute. Presentations were put on hold due to the weather so we weren’t really sure who won. Results were posted later in the week, and I found out I had won by 6 seconds, which was surprising for me.