The last stop on my Europe assault was the world cup in Antwerp, Belgium. This is usually one of the most professional and well organised events of the year and once again the Belaey’s didn’t let us down. The competition was held in Grote Markt with two big grandstands facing the beautiful city hall.
This was the first ever event I was able to ride with my newly won rainbow jersey which was a great feeling. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to capitalise on this great feeling in the semi-finals and made two really stupid mistakes (story of my competition riding as Vincent told me haha). Both Tatiana and I finished on 6pts but because I handed my score card in later I qualified 2nd for the finals. Once again, not ideal because I start the finals with 1 handicap point but that’s life.
The day of the finals was cold yet sunny so it was already a lot more pleasant than the weather we faced in Andorra. I was hoping for some super difficult sections for the last round of the season but unfortunately it wasn’t the case. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop me from making my infamous stupid mistakes both in section 2 and 4. I managed to drop 2pts on one of the smallest rocks in the competition and forgot to see where the exit to section 4 was which meant I gathered 3 time penalty points after putting a dab down as well. After exiting section 4 I thought the win was out of reach now. Half way through arguing with my minder Carles about how stupid I was not walking the exit and that the win was now gone, Tatiana had 5’d section 4 which meant I was now in the lead with 1pt. Carles changed his tune from ‘’you’re stupid’’ to ‘’clean the last section if you want to win’’……cough *no pressure* cough. There was only really one difficult obstacle in the section which was a reasonably tricky jump up to front which all the other riders dabbed. When I jumped up to front and cleaned that line I heard the crowd scream which was really cool. When I rolled out of the section with a clean I knew I had won which was an amazing feeling. To finish the season with a win was the icing on the cake as it meant I was also 2nd in the overall UCI World Cup series because of the double points awarded at this competition (even after missing the first world cup in Poland). This has been by far the best season of my career….mainly because of the massive Belgium waffle/cookies/cake basket we were awarded on the podium 😛
This has been an unforgettable season filled with a number of challenges and hardships but has been a dream come true at the same time. I know I sound like a broken record but I cannot thank everyone who has helped me enough – Carles for minding and the endless patience and help you’ve given me with training, Rick for being my #1 travelling buddy for the last 5 years and taking me to some very memorable places, Andrei for teaching me the art of side hopping, Cam for always believing in me and providing an infinite amount of support and encouragement in riding and in life, my family, particularly my mum for being supportive by letting me transform her nice garden into a hideous trials obstacle as well as being incredibly patient after hearing me curse when training wasn’t going to plan in the backyard, all the families in Europe and in Australia who have housed, fed and put up with me (somehow), all the generous people who donated to my crowd funding page to cover my flights here and my sponsors: Expressivebikes, Ride Mechanic, World Gym Brisbane, Limitless Performance, CEC, Echo, BSMC and DHaRCO.
Thanks 2015 you’ve been crazy! 2016 here we come 🙂