A last minute call up to the South African team gave me about 2 weeks to get prepared for World Champs in Norway. I have always wanted to go to Hafjell, and now the opportunity to race there came up, and I couldn’t wait!
We met up with team SA in Oslo airport on Friday afternoon, the week before the race, and headed to Hafjell. Cycling South Africa really looked after us, and our support was amazing. The track in Hafjell is awesome. It has a little bit of everything in it – big jumps, fast sections, steep tech bits and even a big open grass corner.
First day of practice went really well and I felt pretty comfortable on track already – I also managed to get the famous road gap “huck” done on my third practice run which I was stoked to get out of the way. Going into Fridays practice I felt good and was ready to get out and refine all of my lines a bit more. I ended up having probably my biggest crash to date, during that first run, when my foot pulled out of my pedal right before the huck, and I rag dolled into the next corner. Too be quite honest, I am lucky to have walked away from that without needing to go to hospital. I didn’t ride for the rest of the day because my shoulder was giving me a bit of trouble. The team physio worked overtime on my shoulder that evening to help get me ready for timed training on Saturday.
Timed training didn’t seem to go any better, and I had another little crash in my timed run. I walked the track again that afternoon to have another look at my problem areas.
More physio on Saturday evening meant that I woke up on Sunday feeling a lot better, and having way more confidence in my shoulder. I couldn’t wait to get on track. My practice runs went well and I prepared myself for my race run.
I felt good out the gate, and I actually thought I was having a decent run. I felt smooth with only a few minor mistakes. However, when I crossed the line and saw my time, I was slightly confused, because my time didn’t reflect the way I had felt in my run. I ended up 61st at my first elite World Champs. I had hoped for better, but I am definitely looking at taking the positives away from last weekend.
I had an amazing time, and learnt so much. I can’t thank Cycling South Africa enough for the opportunity and the great support they provided for us along with the superb management team. Last up for the 2014 season is the IXS Euro Cup in Leogang in a few weeks time. Looking forward to that one for sure!