Photo by Marco Patrizi

My first 2015 UCI world cup was held in a town called Vocklabruck. Heard of it? Neither had I until now. This was the first time I rode the new format that had been introduced for the women’s category – semi finals (where the top 6 riders qualify for the finals; 5 sections, 2 laps) and finals (5 sections, 1 lap). In the past, the women only rode finals so it was nice for the format to change this year to be the same as the men.

I rode an almost perfect semi-finals finishing on 2pts, putting me in first place going into the finals. It’s advantageous to qualify first in the semi’s with a new rule being introduced this year, giving penalty points to riders finishing 2nd (1 penalty point), 3rd (2 penalty points) 4th (2 penalty points), 5th (3 penalty points) and 6th (3 penalty points) for the finals. Personally, I thought the section level of the semi-finals was too easy, which was evident with the top 3 riders finishing on no more than 3pts. Competitions like this aren’t the most enjoyable to ride because it’s not about riding to your maximum, it’s about not making one mistake. On top of trying not to make a mistake, the fading light in my last two sections, due to our delayed start time, added another degree of difficulty to the competition. I managed to hold my cool in the last section, from what I could “see” were the logs, and rode 0pts to give me the win in semi-finals.

The apartment I stayed in was located in amongst the Austrian Alps and had a quaint little stream running right beside it. Being fed from the mountains nearby, this ice water was great for muscle recovery. My finals didn’t start until 16:30 so I found myself back in the icy stream to freshen me up before the event. Having had my pre-finals coffee, thanks to my minder Carles’ fang dangle Delonghi expresso machine he so dearly loves and brings to all the events with him and would kill me if I broke it (long name for a coffee machine right!), I was ready to ride the finals. My feeling on the bike was good and I felt confident about the sections. I rode well in the first 3 sections, making no mistakes and finishing on 0pts which meant I maintained my lead. Section 4 saw Tatiana make 3pts, Kristina make 4pts and I made 3pts but 1pt was for time which was due to a misunderstanding with the observer who failed to tell me the time when I was in front of my last obstacle so that was a bit frustrating.

With the points being so close, the winner would be decided in the last section. Tatiana rode the last section for 2pts and Kristina for 5pts. I was the last to ride and I needed to ride the section for no more than 4pts. Unfortunately, I lost my balance on the skinny balance line which saw the axle of my wheel cross the tape which resulted in 5pts. That was it, I was delegated from first to second place by 1pt (Tatiana 7pts and myself with 8pts). I was incredibly disappointed with the finals result after having such a good ride in semi-finals but that’s how sport goes sometimes. I’m looking forward to riding the next UCI world cup in France!

Thanks to my sponsors: Expressivebikes, Ride Mechanic, Echo, Limitless Performance, World Gym Brisbane, BSMC, CEC.

Thanks to all the generous people who donated to my crowd funding page to get me over here to compete for Australia.

Thanks to my mum and aunty for coming to the event and supporting me as well as my minder Carles and Rick for driving me to all these events.