Sunday, May 29, 2011

Race report Europ. DH Cup Todtnau 22th May 2011

I knew right from start that the European Cup Venue Nr. 2 in Todtnau was going to be tough: techy, unknown course, little time to practice and a rainy forecast. As an unlicensed rider who needs to work on Friday before the race weekend I get a total of 3hrs on Saturday and 2hrs on Sunday to familiarize with the course. That amounts to 6-10 runs, depending on how fast the line is and how bumpy the course. Because if it is to rough, you can just not take more than 2-3 full out runs before a race run.
So I felt I came at least mentally prepared. Nonetheless I found myself on the starting line for training on Saturday scratching my head and wondering where the chicken line (= the detour for the scaredy-cats). was. As I picked through the race line one run after the other I was slow to "warm up" to the course - lots of jumps and very rough root traverses were getting the best of me, almost bouncing me off. And the final bit included a very juicy climb! But until the practice time was up I had successfully managed to pick some sort of way through the whole course without the missing chicken lines.
Just after noon I was the third rider to go into the track for the qualification run. I messed up in 2-3 places and having to pass a slower girl 2/3 into the course - hence I ended with the Nr.5 time in the category. After a shower I decided to walk alongside the course during the race to get more familiar with the lines and see how the Pros rode them.
Sunday morning was an early call to get the most out of the short time available for a last practice. After fixing a wobbly headset the night before I was finding myself fighting a loose axle and was not happy with the 3 runs I got in, but eager to top it off with a good race.
The race order is determined by the qualification times with the slowest rider starting first. Unfortunately that meant with my bad time I had to start after a very much slower rider again and pass her somewhere along. I tried to focus on the race line and not think about where and how to pass her and everything seemed to work as planned. I came up behind her in the lower third and called out very early, but she wouldn't pull to the side before the technical section and ended up falling right between a big drop and I had about two wheel wides to her side to avoid colliding. Then I was off to crank out all that was left on the last uphill and roll into the finish area as the first. I looked a time of 5:27 which was 3s faster than the qualification's category best.
Now I sat in the Red Bull seat trying to regain my breath and watch the other riders come in and beat my time... but one after the other came in just slightly behind. Wow, that meant I was the winner?!? The speaker seemed kind of confused too and mistaked me for another rider, but the time-keepers ran out with a black-and-white proof that I had managed to get my first win in.
For me it's not just "a" win. Since it was a European outing, my first race abroad and I did manage to set the best category time I was very proud - and hungry for more!
In consequence I will be at the third European venue in Leogang and try to replicate what worked and avoid what didn't. ;-) Let's see how it goes!

1 comment:

  1. Hallo Linda
    Gratulation zum Sieg !
    Wir haben grossen Respekt vor der Leistung und dem Mut den du und deine Downhill kolleginnen und kollegen an den Tag legt, und es macht Spass euch beim Rennen zuzuschauen. Ziemlich sicher werden wir an einem der nächsten Rennen in der Schweiz wieder als zuseher anwesend sein. Wir wünschen dir jetzt schon viel Glück !