After a day of testing my new Carbon Session 9.9 in Mont Ste Anne after the race it was time to race my new weapon in Windham. In just the 3 years I have been with Trek it’s incredible to see how much they have developed their downhill bike, it’s awesome and I feel very lucky to be one of the few people that gets to ride them first ! The Session was already the lightest bike on the circuit with the aluminium bike so now we are even further ahead of the competition something that definitely feels good when you are competing at the highest level.
The track in Windham was so different from the previous week in Mont Ste Anne, only half the length and some really tight awkward sections along the way. Again we started practice getting pretty muddy as we had some rain during the first few evenings we were there. Rain on this track makes it pretty sketchy and I must admit on a few occasions I was pretty nervous setting off for a practice run ! I remembered from last year that it took me a while to get the feel for this track. Its very fast and very tight and tricky in places and carrying your speed is the key, not being too aggressive and losing your momentum.
I felt better going in to qualifying and managed to get myself into a positive frame of mind, had a great warm up and was ready, and then with 5 mins to go, qualifying was postponed as a thunderstorm rolled in and the lift was shut and not all the girls were at the top of the hill. After a 45min delay we were off and if anyone should be able to cope with changes I should be the one with all my experience, but I think I was just out of routine and lost some of my focus. It resulted in me having a pretty poor qualifier and I didn’t jump one of the awkward rock pile jumps near the end which cost my some valuable time. I ended up 3rd about 4 secs back, which on a short course like this is quite a lot of time. I also lost some valuable points to 2nd place Floriane Pugin. Fortunately we had another morning of practice and chance to walk to the course again. I did some runs behind the guys on Saturday morning and had a very quick wake up call as to just how fast I needed to be going !
I felt better going into the final and with a fast drying course and no thunderstorms in sight it was time for a good race. I was happy with how I rode the top section, but made one vital mistake on the flat section, unclipping my foot and then struggling to get it back in which lost me valuable time on the middle section. I ended up taking the lead but got bumped back into 3rd once again, but this time Rachel Atherton took the win which helped me no end in the points chase ! I was only 3 secs back and I am still happy to really be challenging for the top spot every weekend it feels great. It still leaves me with a slightly slender lead of 100 point going in to the final 2 rounds, so it will make for a great finish to this year’s world cup series.