September 24, 2013 - Jill kintner
Leogang, Austria - September 19-22, 2013 - The final round of the 2013 UCI World Cup was held this past weekend in the Austrian Alps at the famous ski and mountain bike resort of Leogang Saalfelden. This course had been used for the 2012 World Championships, and has a good variety of speed and terrain mixed in with the bike park and natural steep chutes. This particular event also has some of the most glorious vistas surrounded by snow capped mountains.
World Cup finals also means that the World Cup overall winner is determined. For the elite men, Gee Atherton and Stevie Smith had a proper battle going. They were the last few guys to come down the hill on sunday, and it was a lot of pressure for them both. Basically whoever beat the other guy would win the title. Stevie qualified the fastest and was the last guy to come down. Magically he held it together and pulled ahead of Gee to win!!!! He has been on a roll, and made it happen this weekend. Gee's face looked like he saw a ghost. Highs and lows in this sport.
Other crazy things in the men's race, a few of the top 10 guys crashed and were out of the mix. Minnaar, the current world champ tore his acl and meniscus, Sam Hill did his meniscus I think, and Danny Hart messed up his wrist or something. It's quite hard to race an entire season without hitting the ground. I think the quick turnaround from Norway may have got to a couple people. Plus there were some really awkward stumps and stuff put into the course this year.
For the Women, Emmeline Rago won on the day, but Rachel Atherton took the overall with a pretty consistant season of winning.
For me, I placed 3rd in saturday's qualifier, just 4 seconds off. Then, on sunday, conditions were drier, tires changed from spikes to dry tires, and I laid down a good run to finish on the podium for 4th place!! Which is an awesome way to end the year. I celebrated by eating hella croissants the next day:) Got 7 months till the next one.
Austria is a lovely place. You can definitely see why so many people are die hard ski fans, the mountains are steep, rocky and huge!!!
Here is my quote from our press release...
" I was determined to get on the podium this weekend. The course suited me well, and I just felt prepared. In practice I was ticking off boxes each run and really pushing myself to find speed everywhere I could. The ground dried out a lot from the morning practice and was rolling faster, which was good, but I definatly had a couple wild moments sliding around a bit. Obviously this is a big confidence boost and will give me plenty of motivation for the offseason. Huge thanks to Reg, our mechanic, who has been there every step of the way making sure everything was running smooth behind the scenes:) , and Bryn too for all the support and guidance. Good stuff!"