I travelled to Manizales in Colombia to race a National DH race and also the American Continental Champs, both on the same track. I used the National race just to get to know the track better for the Champs. With not much practice Saturday and Sunday I managed to finish in a respectable 2nd place. I was really happy and motivated with the result – all the top boys was there and that was a massive achievement for me.
After 3 days riding the local trails, it came to Thursday with Track Walk and Practice. The track looked the same as the Nationals, a fast and long track with a lot of pedalling and a lot of line choice. Thursday we tried to test all the lines and figure out which one was the faster and after having all the lines sorted, I used the rest of the practice to try and ride faster and faster. The weather was really unpredictable making me change tyres a lot between wet and dry. Saturday it was the seeding run.
I nailed a good and safe run making me the faster rider of the day. Rafael Gutierrez and Max Morgan were right behind me. I knew it would be a tight battle in the finals especially with Gutierrez who lives a mile from the track. I was really nervous being the last rider down, but somehow I composed myself and managed to stay calm. I went for my race run, attacking where I could and playing safe where I thought I could crash. Ending in a respectable 3rd place, I was really happy to get a medal but gutted I didn’t get the win. In April in Argentina we will be back for the same race again and I will train as hard as I can for the win. My brother also raced and came 5th, less than a second behind me.
As Roger said we raced 2 races in Colombia. In the National I wasn’t really looking for any results, I was more looking to find some new lines and see how difficult the track would be on a race full run. I came down on my qualy run and attacked a few different spots and found it made me really tired and actaully not so fast. So on my race run I attacked on few other spots just to see how it would go, and it was still not really going great.
On the following weekend was the main event. I tried resting as much as I could as the track was really physical. Practice started on Thursday afternoon and I wanted a better result. I started to get some different lines and work out the best ones. At the end of practice on Friday I was feeling ready and confident. Saturday was qualy day and I had a pretty good run, but after my run my shock was broken. I tried fixing it for Sunday and on my practice run it broke again just before race.
With no spare shock I did not know what to do. So I spoke to the UCI organizer of the race and asked to be the first one down the track so I could borrow my brother’s shock and give it back to him in time to him have his run. They agreed and I needed to be up at the startline fast. I had no time to eat or have a good rest. My run was going well until I make a huge mistake on a corner losing time and then there were spectators on track with dogs making me lose more time and concentration.
Got down the track and it was a long wait in the hot seat until the big boys. Ended up with 5th place with less than a second from 3rd and less than 1.5 seconds from 2nd place. Happy that I could finish such a long season on gnarly tracks in one piece. I’ll be back next year!