My World Cup Season 2010 – Highs and Lows
This season, which has been amazing and continued to surprise me, has ended fairly badly, with me crashing out at the World Cup Final and breaking my humorous and consequently missing the World Champs where I was hoping to win the Junior title. However, this year has been fantastic and has taught me a lot and given me confidence for next year.
First World Cup Ever
Maribor was my first world cup ever and I went there with the goal to qualify. I had expected to struggle to qualify and feel out of my depth. However, once I saw all of the men who were struggling through the rock garden, let alone some of the girls I felt a lot more at home! I was still extremely nervous going up for qualification, especially as I had Rach Atherton coming down behind me. However, once I had reached the bottom I think I came through about 8th, ending up 11th – which was a massive surprise and relief. In the race I ended up 14th after crashing... but I knew from qualification that I could get a better result and I was hungry for the next races.
Fort William and Leogang went even better; I was 8th in the final of both races and was leading the Junior overall title by quite a way already. By now I was ranked 11th overall in the Women’s category and was determined to break into the top 10 so that I could gain the protected status, and it felt comforting to know that I could produce consistently good results.
Champery was definitely the highlight of my season. At first, when it was dry on the first day of practise I loved the track and it was nowhere near as hard as everyone has described – mainly because they had totally rebuilt almost every corner with diggers so there was plenty of support and you didn’t go hurtling off the edge of the track! There were still lots of lines and jumps that I had to do though and it took me a while to do any jumps at all but by the end of the day I had most of my lines nailed and all of the normal sized jumps dialed – there were still a few ridiculously big ones that I missed out at the bottom though! The next day the weather changed though and it rained, and rained, and rained.. Slowly the track changed into a gloppy mess and the digger berms got chewed up into massive ruts. I was disheartened and felt that I could barely ride down the track – and most of the jumps were out the window, although I still managed to do a few right at the top. I went back to the pits feeling extremely moody and didn’t want to go up again as I could barely steer in a straight line! However my dad persuaded me to go up again and I watched some of the men coming down and honestly they were struggling just as much as I was and that made me feel a lot better. Qualifying came around and whilst I was waiting at the top I decided I just wanted to get down with a clean run and amazingly I did... and even more amazingly I qualified 4th, beating riders like Tracy Moseley! I couldn’t get my head round the fact that I might make a podium on race day. I ended up 6th which was both a good and bad result for me, I was frustrated as I was only 6 seconds off the podium and I had crashed over the bars which must have lost me a lot of time! Also... I was still 11th in the overall.
At Val di Sole I ended up 10th in the final which I was a bit disappointed about because I’d got caught up in the tape and stuck for a few seconds which slowed me down however every cloud has a silver lining because I finally made it into the top 10 overall which meant I was protected for the race at Windham... although it turned out I didn’t need the protected status anyway...
Windham and World Champs Dreams
We set off to America to race the final World Cup and then to go to the World Champs where I had a good chance of getting a gold medal if everything went to plan... although as I kept saying, it’s downhill and anything can happen!
Walking the track at Windham it looked pretty weird, most of it was fairly simple but there were some really gnarly rocky sections and a huuuge road gap that I wasn’t planning on trying because of the World Champs the next weekend, I was just going to take it easy. I took a while to do one of the rock features, you had a roll up a steep rock face, then drop off the other side blind, it was pretty easy but it looked terrifying! Anyway qualifying came along and although I felt had a good run I ended up 13th which I wasn’t very happy about and was determined to do better in the race.
On Saturday the track got faster and faster and lots of the girls started to do the road gap and another sketchy drop further down the track and I started to get tempted to have a go. I thought about it on Saturday night and decided I would follow someone in and have a go at the road gap seeing as everyone who I’d spoken to said the road gap was easy, you just had to land the drop before it nicely and then you were sorted... On Sunday, on my second practice run I decided to do the road gap, I had already followed someone in to get an idea of the speed but I had overshot the drop before it so I landed too heavy, so this time I was going to try and squash the drop so I landed nicely. I think I even thought to myself as I pedaled up to speed ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ As I got closer to the drop I looked ahead at the road gap and the only thing I remember is landing the drop really heavy on the front wheel, before waking up in the ambulance.
In the ambulance they told me they thought I’d dislocated my shoulder but as I could move my shoulder around I assumed they were being overcautious, and that I was okay. Then, once we got to hospital and I was being moved around onto the bed my arm was hurting pretty bad despite all the drugs they’d given me and I started to worry a bit. However, it was only when the doctor told me in the x-ray room that my arm was definitely broken that I realized that I would not be racing that afternoon, and that I would not be competing at the World Champs the next weekend. I hadn’t realized just how much I wanted to win the World Champs until then, and I was devastated.
Now I’m sat at home writing this, I got back from the hospital this morning after having my arm plated back together last night. I guess I’ve learned that a moment of recklessness can result in a lot of disappointment, regret and wasted weeks not being able to do anything! Still I’ve had a lot of support off people and I know that I have next year to try and win the World Champs and I will be wiser then hopefully, and I still have the Junior World Cup Champion title (Series winner), even if I didn’t make the final podium!