Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Maribor Mud

So the past weekend was the kick off of the 2010 World Cup season, with the first round held in a rather saturated Maribor, Slovenia. It kicked off with track walk on thursday and even then it was obvious we were in for a rather muddy weekend, I didn't even bother going to the first 4x practice session as it was wasn't really worth getting that dirty for a couple of runs.

So Friday saw our first runs on the DH track and I waited it out for a bit to let the track cut in a bit and also some of the mud to clear off, when I did go up it was pretty slick and a lot of sniper roots were coming through already but other than the rock section the track was running pretty good, the rocks were a different story though, you could ride them but virtually had no control of what the bike did, I stood there a bit long and watched some guys through there and about 20 percent actually made it through without hitting the deck. I can't say I've ever really been a fan of riding my bike without much actual control of where you are going and this was kind of what it was like. By Friday afternoon the track had started drying up and I was having some good fun on it getting my lines sorted even got to put a run in on dry tires, although that was to be the only one of the weekend.

Saturday morning we woke to another cold and wet day, and headed down to the pits to geared up and head up the hill for a couple of runs before qualifying the track was back to similar conditions to the previous morning but really cut up so many holes, a run was like 3minutes on a jackhammer breaking concrete. I headed up for qualifying and was confident I could put a solid run down, I hit the top section alright then fumbled a bit in the rocks and battled the rest of the way down, tripoding sections with both feet off, I can say I was glad to see the finish and wasn't stoked with the run at all, I went and washed the 20kgs of extra mud off my bike and sat in the pits I knew with the run I had I would be lucky to make the Top 80. I came in 66th and certainly wasn't stoked with that all.

Then I had to try and wash some of my kit and get ready for 4X racing, the whole weekend was full of this, trying to get googles clean or changing kits I was getting pretty over it. I can't even imagine how it would be for my mechanics Nige and Alan having to clean bikes after most runs and keep them running sweet, riding with wet shoes is bad enough but working on bikes for 12 hours a day soaked I dunno how they do it, but they are legends thats for sure, keeping my bikes running so sweet!

So I headed up for 4X and went straight into the start without practice as it was just too wet, and not really worth it. I got out of the gate last as I had expected and then struggled to get past the guy in 3rd for a bit as he kept blocking the inside, I was glad to get past him and set up a pass for 2nd then the guy in 2nd slid out and his bike went in front of me taking me down with him, I rolled to the finish pretty over it, and then to just put the icing on the cake crashed in the finish area like a true amateur and got soaked in mud head to toe, I had to go back try wash everything again then head back to the hotel and try to dry everything on the towel rail ready for the next day.

Race day rolled around and once again it was freezing outside, myself and Nathan Rankin were about to catch the gondola down to the pits from our hotel until we were told that it wasn't running leaving us with a bit of a dilemma, with mechanics, team van and DH bikes down the bottom in the pits, and us still at the top so I had to take my 4X bike borrow some pedals from another team as it had no pedals on it and ride down the wet 4WD road to the bottom, standing on the top tube half the way trying not to get too wet a mission just to get to the bottom.

With the gondola not running practice schedule was changed to one run only per rider using a bus uplift, I along with most other wasn't happy about this as I wanted to get a couple of practice runs in to sort out some of my lines before final run. I pushed a couple of sections to try get it sorted, and then headed to the pit to put some clean kit on have a quick bite to eat and head up in the van with the mechanics for final run, the one that the whole weekends effort depends on.

I left the start gate and went in to the first section trying to ride lines that I had just looked at and I couldn't really get flowing I was stalling up a lot and came to the first tear off pull section and somehow instead of pulling one tear off all three came off, leaving me with no more, it certainly wasn't a run to remember and I ended up with 54th place not the start to the season I wanted but I am just glad this race is in the books and now I can move on to the next one at Fort William. There were however a few kiwi's however who faired a bit better, Cam Cole and Justin Leov proved that their coach is doing something right drawing for 9th place, then Blinky was in 12th on the same second as them with a bit of a no footer through the rocks, Scolesy and Brook crashed in to still respectable placings of 36th and 38th.

Now I am in Germany where this weekend I have the Winterberg IXS cup and then after that I head to Scotland for the Innerleithen IXS and the Fort William World Cup Round 2.

Thanks to Team Kenda Playbiker, especially Nige and Alan my mechanics. Also to my personal sponsors, South Star Shuttles, T.H.E helmets and clothing, Backflips.co.nz clothing, Rockstar Racing, Taranaki Elite Athletes Foundation, Leatt Brace, E*Thirteen, Burgtec and last but not least Mum and Dad.

Onward and upward.


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