It’s safe to say that we love the mountains.
And the Swiss mountains that encircle Lenzerheide and it’s beautiful, clear lake elicit a sense of calm, inner happiness amongst both the riders and the staff. During the heat of race day the landscape whips up excitement, but at sunrise and dusk, and laid back lunchtimes, the mountains seem to impose a sense of reflection and satisfaction.
To the soundtrack of cow bells, our week flowed by quickly with the familiar rhythm of bike building, training, filming and preparation. With all XC races on Sunday, we were in for a hectic day. With military precision we scheduled our jobs, movements and requirements so that each rider could have the best possible race.
The natural, rooty track was a hit with our riders and excitement levels were at an all time high going into race day!
Annie, Mariske and Cherie were first up in the Elite Women’s race. Unfortunately Cherie has to pull out of the race after two laps due to illness. A lingering cold left her with a tight chest and difficulty breathing. Mariske and Annie were racing well in the thirties but also battling their own issues. Mariske suffered with stomach trouble which stopped her being able to put any power through the pedals and Annie suffered horribly with the heat in the second half of the race which, she said, was akin to engaging reverse gear and then putting the handbrake on! That said, there are (however clichéd it sounds) real positives to take from Annie and Mariske’s performances. Although we know they achieve better results, 38th and 39th in a World Cup is not too shabby given the circumstances.
Martin too suffered during the race. After a fantastic start, moving up to 37th from a start number of 72, his back began to give him discomfort which soon became severe pain. Amazingly Martin managed to finish the race in 59th position, determined to get some much sought-after UCI points.
The stars will align soon!
For Isla, the disappointments of last year are turning into great successes in 2016. One year after crashing badly on the Lenzerheide course, braking her collarbone and fracturing a vertebrae, Isla raced to a career-best U23 World Cup result of 11th. This girl has heart!
So the day ended on a high and a wonderful week ended with smiles (and a top notch sausage casserole!).
With big hugs and vehicles packed to bursting point we drove out of the mountains and travelled back to our respective homelands ready for National Championships this weekend.