I headed to Tasmania for the first two of the seven rounds of the UCI Enduro World Cup, this is my first time racing overseas or at this level so was nervous and excited! First up was Maydena bike park a huge hill at 1200 meters. We had practice day on Friday where we got to have one run down each of our race tracks, I had the GoPro on my helmet so that I could rewatch it and work out my lines. It was scary to think we only had one run down the track before trying to race it. I took the approach of riding the trail at my 80% and stopping if there was a feature I was unsure of or if I rode something badly. It was quite nerve-racking as there were a lot of riders on the courses and if you did stop I found it hard to get going again, it also meant that a lot of the time you were riding down having to avoid racers walking back up. All in all practice went well the trails were in really good condition nice and dusty, there were some sections I was comfortable on and others not so much, I’m also still getting used to my new bike which I’ve only had for 3 weeks.
Race day was Sunday, the day started out very cold as we got our first shuttle to the top of the mountain, we had a little liaison down to stage one which meant we could try to warm up on the bike before dropping into the second longest trail of the day.
Stage 1 was a clean run for me just having a few stalls in corners and missing a few of my practice lines but it was nice to get the first one out of the way. We then pedalled up to stage two which was a much shorter trail, flatter which involved more pedalling and pumping, this stage was also a clean run for me.
Stage 3 was Thrash Horse, it was right in the middle of the park so very easy for spectators to access which meant for the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen, at the top of the course there were a few shoots one leading into a step down I didn’t hit it in practice but was planning on doing it race run, unfortunately in the lead up to the step down I washed my front wheel in front of the crowd …. I was gutted and super embarrassed, I got up as quickly as possible straighten the bars and continued down the trail where I then missed a corner and ended up in the tape causing the next rider down to catch me. I was pretty happy to have that stage over with.
Stage 4 was part of Maydena’s downhill track a very short track with multiple line choices, with only doing one practice run down it was going to be super hard to remember lines so I decided to just ride whatever line I end up on with confidence.
Stage 5 was a fair climb up to it and a completely blown out trail compared to when we practised it, with loose rocks, dusty berms and lots of difficult flat trail crossings. Once stage 5 was over it was all our climbing was done as we were treaty to a shuttle up to stage 6, once again shuttled up the top of the mountain and stage 6 was a top-to-bottom run, the longest stage for the day and the most technical.
Stage 6 started off nice and flowing which then dropped into the technical single trail with some rocky shoots then we dropped into a new loamy section which was loose, a hectic crowd defiantly made you push for it, once that was over it was flowing trail right out to the end jumps. It was a pretty unreal moment hitting the final jump into the finishing bowl with spectators watching, the cameras on you and the live timing screen right there as you finished! I was stoked to have finished my first-ever enduro world cup race!
The body was feeling it as it was a decent day on the bike with 34km done and 1345 meters of climbing and a huge 2700 meters of descending. I ended the day 26th overall in the Pro Women, happy but wanting to do better. Now all the first-time nerves were out of the way I was excited for the second round at Derby.
Wednesday we woke up and it had stopped raining so went out for some track walking I soon realised that the trails were mainly rock, grippy rock, I was excited.
Thursday was practice day and you guessed it we woke up to rain and it didn’t stop raining all day… Loui and I went up and practised stages 1 -3 and then came back for some warm food and then headed back out in the cold wet rain for stages 4-6! Surprisingly the trails rode pretty well just a bit slow on rolling speed due to all the moisture! After stage 6 we were soaked, frozen to the bones and the bikes had definitely seen better days and were due for a good check-over! We cleaned them up and then Hunter gave them a check over in the Vertigo workshop such a legend! Then we had the 5-star treatment of Emma (Hunter’s Partner) cooking us dinner and dessert and they let us wash and dry all our dirty clothes it was a huge help so thank you both!
With Friday being the open racing and the sun shining it gave the trails a chance to dry out! Saturday we woke up to blue skies too which was a huge relief, I set off up the hill at 8:32 am and tried to warm up as it was a chilly start.
Stage 1&2 These two stages definitely warmed the legs and lungs up as they were the most pedalling stages of the day, I put the power down and just tried to pedal as much as possible and I was stoked to claim a 7th and 6th place stage win on those two stages!
Stage 3 Next up we had Trouty, a very well know trail in Derby the name comes from the rock that looks like and is painted like a trout, it was a super rocky trail with multiple rock slabs and steep shoots which created a wicked stage 3!
Stage 4 was Detonate another famous trail with the main features being the Lilly pad jump and some very very narrow rock rolls literally felt like bar width ! Kept it clean for that stage which was a bonus, especially for the little pinky fingers!
Stage 5, a new trail in Derby called Cuddles only finished a few days before racing it was fresh, unfortunately, the rain made it run slower than it should but it had some insane features a rock wall ride and then a big rock slab that dropped away to dirt to a very chunky rocky section after it was a very awesome trail! This trail was lined with spectators too, with cowbells, horns and megaphones going off it was great! Then onto the final stage for the day stage 6.
Stage 6 This was a top-to-bottom run starting high up the hill with some rocky features, a step down into some fast trail before a decent sprint to the finish. I had a little mishap towards the bottom of this stage over a drop where my shoe unclipped before the drop and I took the seat to the inner thigh luckily I survived and managed to ride it out but the seat is definitely worse for wear. I sprinted down the bottom and crossed the line to find myself in the hot seat, this was an unreal moment and I just soaked it all up. I held the hot seat for a few riders until another girl had a ripper of a time down the trail. I was then sitting 3rd overall for the day but still had the top 15 pro riders to drop into the final stage. I watched them all cross the line with most beating my time but a few not and I came away with 14th overall for the day I am so stoked and super proud of myself!
Defiantly the first two rounds have been an eye-opener and a learning curve of what to expect and I now know what a need to work on for Europe.
I can’t thank Loui and Jess Harvey enough for taking me under their wings for the last few weeks helping me out and being there for everything.
Everyone back home in NZ and family and friends across the global thank you for all the kind supportive messages.
I’m back in NZ now for some more training and then heading to Europe very soon I can’t wait.
Thanks for all the support Nelson 🙂