Photo by Marco Patrizi
I’m world champion!
Women’s finals video click here.
Interview about world champs click here.
After an incredibly trying year filled with a number of challenges and life changing decisions I still can’t believe I did it, I’m still pinching myself.
Firstly, I’d like to congratulate Nina&Tatiana for their podium finishes in the difficult rainy conditions. It’s been an unforgettable journey filled with years of hard work, heartache, fun times, making some great friends & now a rainbow jersey.
As expected, the weather forecast for the world championships in Andorra was rain. It was wet, muddy and cold……yep this smelt and felt like the world champs. It’s funny, the sport’s the same, the rules, obstacles, and riders are all the same. The only difference is the location and the name of the title, yet this is enough to completely change the feeling of the atmosphere of the competition. You can feel the nerves of all of the riders and almost cut the tension in the air with a knife. Hahaha it’s crazy.
Surprise, surprise, my semi-finals was wet and slippery. It didn’t rain during the competition (thankfully) but it had rained heavily the night before which was enough to make all of the obstacles and ground wet and slippery. We had 3 laps of 5 sections for the semi-finals with only the first 6 riders qualifying for the finals on Friday. Unfortunately, I made two many silly mistakes that lead to a few points being dropped e.g. due to time, slipping off logs, not lining up and compressing properly on a rock in the river, etc. As a result, I ended up qualifying 3rd for the finals which was far from ideal as I’d be starting the finals with 2 handicap points. I knew my only option was to head into the finals and go full gas. If I wanted to win this world championship title, that had eluded me for 5 years, I would have to go in and fight bloody hard for it.
When I woke up on the morning of the finals and saw it was raining, with no inclination of stopping anytime soon, I knew it was going to be a tough day of competition. Early that morning, I met with my minder Carles, to have one last check of the sections before I rode at 11am. To be honest, I was more excited to ride than nervous. I had trained hard the last year and I was looking forward to riding a difficult competition.
The first lap went really well, I didn’t 5 any sections and was stoked to side hop clean and ride across the log balance line, in those wet conditions, under all that pressure. Unfortunately, all of the stress and intense focus of the first lap resulted in me getting incredible forearm pump the whole 2nd lap. I had been gripping the bars too tight instead of trying to relax. I ended up cranking into my back brake and “gracefully” flipping over the bars at the end of the first section because of it. At that point, I thought to myself, “I haven’t trained this hard and come this far to lose a title because of forearm pump!” I ended up managing the forearm pump by stretching and sticking to planned rest points within the sections.
Not once during the competition did I know my points or the other competitor’s points, I made that Carles’s problem haha. Before I entered the second last section, Carles told me that I had to make it through this section for less than 5pts. As I rolled into the section, Tatiana had 5’d the river section which meant I had won the title. I had rode the section for 1pt and as I rolled to the exit both Carles and Rick were standing there to tell me I’m world champion. At first I didn’t believe them and said “Are you serious? Don’t joke with me!” They reassured me they were telling the truth and that I was world champion. I couldn’t believe it, I had finally done it! At that moment, a wave of emotion hit me. I was so happy, shocked and incredibly relieved all at the same time. It really was the perfect way to win a title, fighting for the rainbow jersey in what were some of the worst weather conditions I have ever ridden in and having my close friends, who have helped me so much over the years, at the end of the section there to tell me I’m world champion. It’s a moment I’ll never forget. (Where were you Drei!?)
I want to give a big thanks to the help Carles, Rick, Cam & Drei have given me over the years and so many families that have looked after me over in Europe&in Oz. Without your generous help I couldn’t have done this!
A big thanks to everyone who donated to my fundraiser to fly me over to compete this year. I’m very grateful, you helped me achieve a dream of mine!
Huge thanks to my sponsors :