Yesterday I finally got a chance at racing finals. We had a week break in the World Cup circuit, so we decided to come to Switzerland to compete in the Europa Cup in Zweisimmen. I raced here 3 years ago; it was actually one of my first ever ski cross races (after my World Cup debut in France).
Racing were all the Europa Cup athletes, as well as a bunch of World Cup athletes from Switzerland, Germany, Japan, France, Russia… There was a solid field of over 35 girls. The track was pretty easy compared to a standard World Cup course. No major jumps, extremely flat (to my disadvantage!) and no major technical sections. This was mostly due to lack of snow, but also not to scare the living hell out of young racers new to ski cross!
I qualified in 8th position. I was racing in heat 1 of the quarter finals, and made it through the first round with German World Cup racer Alex Grauvogl. I then proceeded to semi finals. Unfortunately with my qualifying time, I was given the yellow bib, meaning I had last pick of the start gate. In this course it was rather a large disadvantage. I was in the far left gate, and the far right gate was most direct to the first turn. I came out with a fast, strong start and ended up neck and neck in 2nd position with a Swiss girl. She had the inside line and so pinched me out. I was forced through the gate and therefore didn’t make it through to the big final.
In the small finals (to decide 5th through to 8th place), I came through in 3rd place, therefore finishing in 7th overall. It was a great day and fun to finally race some head-to-head competition.
I think this will give me a lot of confidence going into the next World Cup in Germany. All I have to do now is qualify fast, and then let everything I’m been training so hard for take care of itself in the head-to-head competition!
Here are some photos taken by Jenny Owens on race day.
(Ready in the start for the quarter finals)
("Racers ready.... attention...")
(I get the hole shot in the first turn)
(Trying to make a pass in the small finals)
(Team Australia. Anton, Marcos, Matt, myself and Development Team coach Shawn)
Thanks Jen for the photos!