U23 XC World Championships Austria

The World championships are the one event every year that all the top Mountain bikers want to be in peak form for.  This can be a hard thing to do and over time you get better and better at knowing your body and what it needs through out the year to make sure you are going fast at Worlds. unfortunately this year I thought I knew my body and what it needed in the 2 weeks between the BMC racer cup in Muttenz where I was 4th U23 and Worlds to keep my form going, but I manage to get it wrong. This meant that even though I push my body really hard I just wasn’t going as fast as I probably should have been.

World Championships Austria 2012

climbing out of one of the river crossings World Championships Austria 2012

The Australian XC and trials World Championships team in 2012

Before the race I had a goal of getting in the top 25, but because I wasn’t in form and was straggling, I was unhappy with my 55th finishing place. Even though I didn’t get the result I wanted its hard to complain when I got to spend a week in Austria with some awesome people and ride bicycles around looking at spectacular mountains.

Austria Mountains

I am looking forward to getting home and starting to plan for next year and changing my training up a little to better suit the European style of racing. With these changes I am hoping to get some good results in the Worlds Cups and in ether the America Pro XCT series or the Switzerland BMC racer cup and the Germany Bundesliga series.

Austria Mountains

I have to say a big thanks to Paul, Bec and Dan for hanging out with me in Austria and giving me a lift back to Offenburg and Vanessa for giving me a place to stay in Germany and driving countless kilometers for me to and from places. Also everyone that has help me over the last 3 and a bit months while I have been overseas and all the people that helped me plan and organize my trip.

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Euro bike and 4th U23 BMC Racer Cup Basel

This is just going to be a small update because I am just about to drive down the autobahn to Euro bike, which is a massive bike show where all the new products are shown to the media, shop owners and the public. I am excited about heading down because I am hoping to be able to talk to some companies about opportunities for next year. I also just want to learn more about how the cycling community works in Europe.

After finally arriving in Stuttgart after the problems with my flights that I talked about in my last update.  I spent a couple of days in Gültstein, which is about 30min drive out of Stuttgart and which is where I am staying before I heading to Offenburg to catching up with Paul Van Der Ploeg. Offenburg is only a 1 hour drive down to Basel where the BMC Racer Cup was so we just made a day trip down and back.

I was looking forward to having a good racer because my last race in America didn’t go some well. I had raced on the track last year and came 4th in U19 so i knew the track and was hoping to do well. This year I was racing in U23 which are included in the Elites race, this makes the racing very fast. Like most racing in European races the field was stacked with a lot of the top guys in the World.

The start of the BMC Racer Cup, If you look closely you can see me just to the left of the motor bike helmet.

I was feeling good straight from the gun and found my self right in a good group and i was just in sidethe top 25th and slowly moved up through out the race and ended up in 20th in Elite and 4th in U23, which I am very happy about and its given me good confidence leading into World Champs.

Racing right near the front of the field at the BMC Racer Cup

 

Sorry for it being so short but I will do a more in depth report when I get back from Euro bike.

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Vancouver and the Last round of the Pro XCT the ‘Subaru Cup’

Well it has been awhile since I have updated my blog and a fair bit has happened since the Missoula Pro XCT. I went straight from the Missoula Pro XCT to Vancouver in Canada where I meet up with another Australian Josh Carlson and his girl friend Lisa. I spent the next 3 and a bit weeks in his apartment while he was away travelling and racing at various mountain bike event in America and Canada. Lisa went back to Australia for a holiday over the 3 weeks, which meant that I had the apartment to my self. This was good and bad, good because it meant that I could do my own thing and just train/ride my bike. But after awhile it was hard being in a totally new place, basically knowing nothing about it and having no idea where to ride. Because I had nothing else to do I just knuckled down and did 2 weeks of probable the hardest training I have ever done. I also got to meet up with some of the Rocky mountain xc guys and did some awesome riding with them Squamish. I also managed to fit in a 45km race called the ‘Gear Jammer’, which is part of the Test of Mental series of races that happen thought out the BC area.

A photo from one of the many training ride

After I flew out of Vancouver to Madison in Wisconsin for the last Pro XCT of the series, the Subaru Cup. But not with out some troubles at the airport with my flights getting cancelled and having to spend the night with Tim in Madison after Izzy the Intern at cycling dirt posted something on the cycling dirt facebook page. Tim was also nice enough to give me a lift out to Wautoma where I met up with Sid once again.

Photo is from the Sea to Sky high way. The high way has awesome views the hole way a long it

Looking in to Vancouver City from the North Shore

As soon as the gun went for the start of the race I knew I was in for a hard one, because of all the training I had been doing I was coming into the race fairly fatigued and lacked the top speed and punch, which is needed to race at the front of the field with the other top guys. I ended up finish in 12th which isn’t how I wanted to finish my racing in America but it is what it is, I was still able to get some very valuable UCI points and I know I have put in the hard work, which I am hoping will pay off in a couple of weeks at World Champs. For the Pro XCT series standings i ended up finishing in the top 10 for Elite and 3rd U23 rider. I missed the first 2 rounds of the series and I am hoping next year i might be able to come back and do the full series and see how i go.

I managed to get a photo on “cyclingnews’ which is all ways cool.
Click on the photo to go to the link.

I was 8th overall in the Pro XCT series after the Missoula XC but slipped back to 10th after the disappointing Subaru cup.

When I post this on the Internet I will be in Stuttgart in Germany once again I had some bad luck with my flight from Madison to Munich, which meant I ended up spending an extra night in Madison and having an 8hr stop over in Chicago, which was brutal. Thank goodness they had Wifi and I was able to watch the US Pro challenge (Tour of Colorado) live on the Internet while I waited.

My next race will hopefully be this weekend at the BMC racer cup in Basel Switzerland. I want to be able to use this race for as a turn up for World Champs. My U23 race in on at 2:00pm on September the 7th and depending on who is selected I might be doing the team relay on the 6th.

I have to say a massive thanks to Izzy the intern, Tim the guy that let me stay at his house, Josh and Lisa for letting me use there apartment and I could not have done this trip all over America with out Sid helping me out with transport to and from races and letting me stay with him.

Also thanks to everyone back home.

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Missoual Pro XCT and my best result so far

Wow, amazing and awesome!! Are good words to sum up the last 2 weeks in Missoula, I have had a heap of fun hanging out with Zoe, Allie and Cady who I have been staying with. I also got to meet Macky and Boden Franklin in the last couple of days that I was there, which was nice. But the most exciting thing was the Pro XCT race, which was held at Marshall Mountain just out side of Missoula. The track was similar to the Windham World Cup with a long up hill that started from the start/finish area, which was broken up with a couple of single track selection and some small downhills. After climbing for most of the lap there is fairly large drop called ‘A line’, which was a fun section of the track and a place for the spectators to hang out. After doing the drop you knew that it wasn’t long until you got to the final down hill, which lead you back down to the start/finish area.

First climb of the first lap

More Climbing

The goal for me in the race was to get a top 5 and try and get my name out into the America mountain bike seen a bit more, which I am hoping can lead me into a sponsorship deal to come back and race next year. After looking at all my world cup result I knew that normally where I come through on the first lap is where I ended up finishing around. So I decide to try and push it in the first lap and try and hold my place through out the race. The plan worked out well I end up coming through on the first lap in 3rd just behind Sam Schultz and his teammate Jeremy Horgan-Kobels. The lowest that I dropped down to was 5th and on the last lap after a quick wheel change because I got a flat rear tire I caught and passed Todd Wells and was able to hold on to 4th to the finish. It was amazing how I went from someone that hardly anyone knew me to random people in the crowd coming up to me at the end wanting to shake my hand and have a chat. It was amazing.

The Drop

Chasing down Todd Wells

having a chat with Sam after the finish (super nice guy)

I had an awesome time in Missoula and meet some wicked people, but now I am off to Vancouver for 4 weeks. Where I am going to meet up with Josh Carlson who has been nice enough to let me stay with him for the 4 weeks, which should be a heap of fun.

4th place. I was so happy

Podium for the Pro Men in the XCT Pro Missoula

Thanks to all the people back home that have helped make this trip happen for me. It has been amazing so far and I hope it can just keep getting better from here.

Here are some videos from the Pro XCT race.

http://www.cyclingdirt.org/coverage/249585-2012-US-Pro-XCT-Missoula-XC/video/647919-Mens-Race-Missoula-Pro-XCT-2012

http://www.cyclingdirt.org/coverage/249585-2012-US-Pro-XCT-Missoula-XC/video/649490-Jack-Haig-Has-a-Sexy-Aussie-Accent

 

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Windham World Cup Photos and Fun in Missoula

I managed to find some photos of me in the latest World Cup that I did in Windham where i got 14th in U23 men. Its amazing how hard it is to find photos from World Cups even thought you probably past maybe 15 photographers a lap with flashes going off.

Close to the Start/finish line at the U23 Men Windham World Cup 2012

Me on the downhill on the way to the Start/finish line in the U23 Men Windham World Cup 2012

Well i made it to Missoula safely and caught up with the people that having been hosting me here. They are a super cool bunch of Collage student from the local Uni who are renting a really nice 4 bed room house in Missoula. I have just had my mountain bike for the last couple of days, which might have been a bit of a blessing in disguise. Because i have actually been really enjoying riding it around here and having a bunch of fun in some of the really nice mountain bike/recreational park in riding distance from the house. I am not sure if the riding has been really enjoy able because i am feeling fairly fast after the 3 weekends in a row of racing or just because the trails are super fun to ride.

The entrance to the Main Trail head at Rattlesnake recreational park

My favorite place to ride so far is in the Rattlesnake recreational park where there is a trail called Ravine, which is probably one of the best downhills that i have ever ridden. If you want to find out where i have been riding i post some of my rides on a popular website called Strava (http://www.strava.com/), which i have found to be a usefully tool to find rides to do in new areas that i haven’t been.

One of the Amazing trails up here at Rattlesnake

The other day was 4th of July, which is a big holiday over here basically Australia Day but in America. It was fairly cool we went into town and saw a big firework show and i found out that you can just go and buy firework for shops off the street and set them off. So yesterday Zoe went out and bought me some fireworks to play with in the next couple of day, which is going to be fun.

Anyway my road bike arrived today, which i got posted from Park City because it was a hole lot cheaper then taken it with me to all the World Cups on all of the planes. So i am looking forward to getting out and exploring on it. My next update will probably be after the XCT Pro next weekend before the head off to Vancouver.

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More American Adventures and Windham World Cup

After leaving Mont Sainte Anne (MSA) Sid, Ben and I packed up the car and heading down through the Canadian/American boarder to Windham. Windham is a small little town, which functions as a ski town during winter and is the host for my second World Cup this year. We arrived in wet, very cloudy and fairly cold condition but for the rest of the week it heated up and we had blue skis the hole time.

After a couple of solid days of riding on the road as well as a couple of laps I was feeling much better then last week, which was a good sign because I wanted to be able to get a top 15 this weekend at Windham. On one of my days training on course I meet up with some recently announced Olympian and Australian’s Dan McConnell and Bec Henderson I managed to do couple of laps with them, which was fun and it was nice to be able to chat with some other Australians.

My race was early on Saturday morning just like MSA, but this time the course was very different with one large up hill, which traversed its way up with a mixture of open fire road and single track sections in the woods. Once at the top it was basically just down hill with a couple of little pinches. The downhill had a couple a technical section as well as some wide-open fast areas, which made it a fairly fun course to ride and race.

I had a fairly good start and come through on the 1st lap around 13th or 14th place and I knew that all I needed to do was try and conserve energy on the long climb and hold my place in the pack of ridersI was able to do this and finished the race in 14th in U23 Men, which is one place better, then my previously best result in juniors (U19) at Val di Sole where I got 15th.

Well I am off to Missoula in Montana for 2 weeks where I am going to meet Zoe who has been nice enough to let me stay in her home (I don’t know her and am yet to meet her) So thanks Zoe for letting me stay. At the end of the 2 weeks there is a Pro XCT before I head off to Vancouver up in Canada to meet up with one of the fast men on the Giant Factory team and Australia Josh Carlson. I am will be there for around 4 weeks and hope to get in a fair bit of training and mountain bike riding on the sick trails that they have up in that area before heading off to the Last Pro XCT at Mt Morris. From Mt Morris I am off to Europe where I am going to meet up with a friend in Munich Germany before head across to Switzerland to do a BMC racer cup and then hopefully World Champs in Austria in September. (The worlds team get finalized fairly soon maybe mid July or something)

With the three good results that I have had so far and hopefully if I can get 2 more top 10 finishes in the last 2 Pro XCT rounds an America team might take notice of me and be interested in picking me up for next year. I am aiming to talk to a couple of them at the up coming Missoula Pro XCT about it and I am hoping I might be able to get something lined up for next year and be able to come back and do the all of the Pro XCT series and a bunch of other races in America as well as some more World Cups.

Thanks to everyone back home for the support and encouragement with out you guys I wouldn’t have been able to chase the dream and doing what I love travelling around, meeting awesome people and riding my bike. Also a massive big thanks to Sid Taberlay and Ben Bradley who have helped me out so much over the past 3 weeks of traveling around and racing the World Cups with out them I wouldn’t have been able to do it. Also a thanks to Katherine O’Shea who has helped me out with some transport and accommodation to and from airport and everything else she has done.

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American/Canadian Adventures continued. Mont Sainte Anne World Cup 2012

After the Pro XCT in Colorado I was off to an airport once again, this time it was Denver airport where I would catch a flight to Montreal. I was on the same flight as Sid and Ben, which made it easy to find each other in Montreal airport where we had to go and hire a car before driving up past Quebec to a small town just below Mont Sainte Anna, which is where we would call home for the next week while we train, get ready and race the Mont Sainte Anna World Cup.

It was only a short ride to the track and after cutting a couple of practice laps in the days leading up to the World Cup. I was feeling comfortable with the track and had ridden all my line, but I was hoping that we didn’t get any rain because the track had a lot of tight rooty technical section, which would be come very difficult to ride if it becomes wet.

Turns out the weather wasn’t playing nice and decided to rain the Friday night before the race on Saturday morning, but it didn’t rain during the race which was nice. I had number 60 number plate but was called up somewhere just below 40th in a field of ++++++++ riders. For some rezone I wasn’t really that novice and didn’t really have my head/mind in racing mood on the start line, which was a bit weird and it was a trend through out the race. I had a fairly good start working my way up to some where in the top 20 and that where I stayed for the hole race just floating around the top 20 and I ended up finishing 20th. I was fairly happy with 20th but I was hoping to have been able to work my way through the field in the later stages of the race. I think if I would have been able to get my head/mind in the right frame of mind for racing I might have been able to do a little better. It was weird I have never had this problem before it just felt like my mind was still in practice lap mood not racing mood. But I hoping that I can get a better result this weekend at the Windham World Cup

Well I am in Windham, New York now and just did a nice ride around the area and a lap of the course for this weekend. The course is actually really fun unlike last weekend, which was just really hard and brutal to ride because it was so technical. I am looking forward to doing a couple more laps and then racing on Saturday.

Thanks to everyone back home for the all the support and interest in helping me out. Hopefully I can have a clean race this weekend and see where my fitness puts in the U23 field.

 

 

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