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Vieira brothers end the season on a high at the American Continental Champs in Columbia
Brazilian brothers Douglas and Roger Vieira currently reside in the U.K., riding for the O’Neal Moore Large Race Team they compete in the full British National Points Series and European World Cup (and World Champs) DH Series. Following an up and down season in 2018 the youngsters took some time out to travel back to their native South America recently. The trip took them to Columbia to race the competitive and always fiercely contested American Continental Champs in Columbia…
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!