This year has gone about as fast as they all do, too fast! Already it’s April and it’s time to pack up and head overseas to race bicycles in the summer heat of Europe. Although, it is still snowing at my first destination, so I should probably hold off on the summer celebrations!
The 2017 season has seen some large changes to my racing program compared to previous years. After moving on from the Marathon MTB team at the end of 2016, it was a mad rush to secure sponsors for the 2017 season. Thankfully, I was able to get in contact with some great people in the industry who have come on board to support my dream and I am forever grateful for their help. Putting everything together was still quite a stressful experience with a lot of unknowns and what-ifs throughout the beginning of the year. Of course, everything came together at the final hour, quite literally. The day before I was to leave for Queensland for the Oceanias and National Championships a package that had been missing finally arrived and so my new Norco Revolver was complete!
In contrast to previous seasons, this year I have placed more focus on the European season to further my chances overseas and hold my form throughout my trip. Over the last few years, I have trained and focused on the Australian season and have come into the National Champs in March ready, but then needed a break – not so much physically but more mentally. To place pressure on myself for the January to March period has drained me, not considerably but enough that I lose a certain amount of gusto for training and racing leading into my final preparation phase before Europe. Other Australian riders have managed this period quite well but for me, I felt I needed to change things up.
Placing less emphasis this year on the racing and holding my training back has so far proved to be very beneficial and straight after National Champs I started my final block with a lot more motivation and energy than I’ve had before. The form has come back fast, but the question remains as to whether I will be fast enough come Europe and racing against the very best in the world. My first two races are both packed with top names so it will not take long to work out where I’m at!
As I spoke about in my ‘Between the Tape’ column in the Australian Mountain Bike magazine, it was a tough decision to hold myself back from attacking the Australian season with good form. It got even tougher when I saw the track that would be used for the Australian National Champs at Canungra, as there was nowhere to hide! With a viciously steep climb for over 6 min into a technical descent it was not a course you wanted to race underdone! The technical descent was a big highlight for me, but I’m glad we didn’t have to race in the wet like the Elite women did earlier in the morning!
As far as results go, there was nothing to write home about, as to be expected. Although, I am roughly where I was last year with less specific intensity work so I am hopeful for a strong 2017 in some big races to come. Julien Absalon will be at the first two races I attend so I’m hoping I’ve done enough! The 1:30 hr between the tape will tell all, so until then, happy trails!
First two Races
- Haiming, Austria – Swiss Proffix Cup
- Heubach Bike the Rock, Germany