My two months in Europe came to a close with the 3rd World Cup which was held in Emmen, Netherlands. I had some great training in the lead up to this last World Cup for the year and was really looking forward to racing.
Hannah and I took 2 days to drive from Italy to the Netherlands, stopping in France for the night, so it was a nice easy drive, as I didn’t want my back issues to flare up again. I had rented a small bungalow just outside of Emmen in the tiny town of Erm and it couldn’t have been a better location. It worked out that it was only a 15 minute drive to the course, so it was nice and close.
The weather was much cooler in the Netherlands as compared to Italy and we had an average temperature of around 20 degrees. Although the mornings that we were riding were much cooler but I just assumed it was the universe’s way of getting me ready to go back to Australia in time for our winter months.
As I was the only one from Australia racing I was also designated at the Team Manager! So I got a taste first hand of what it means to being the Team Manager…not an easy job I must say and I was only looking after me. We were allowed to ride the entire course only the day before racing as part of it was on a major road where bikes are not allowed. But when I did ride it found it to be an amazingly fast course. I was looking forward to the racing!
As I was the only Australian I was allocated to be in the pits with the Canadians and they were extremely welcoming and I was an honorary Canadian for the duration of the World Cup! Even though I am Canadian anyhow!!! The staff of the Canadian team were amazing, assisting me with anything I needed.
The Time Trial was the first race and I had the best TT race of the season, clocking my fastest average speed and taking out first place, so I was very happy with that result. On the morning of the Road Race the weather wasn’t as welcoming. The T1 and T2 women were heading off on the course 2 minutes after the men and we were the first road racing event for the weekend. The weather was fairly cold at 15 degrees and it was pouring rain.
For the first time I felt really comfortable in a Road Race, I knew exactly what my plan was and felt that I could cope with anything that was thrown at me. The race for us was the fastest we have had and I sat back and waited for someone to take off. That occurred about 1.5 km’s from the finish when Jill Walsh from the US took off. I went with her and as we went around a 180 degree turn to go up the off ramp towards the last 3 corners of the race I decided that I wanted to get to those corners first. I took off and as I passed a couple of the T1 men my left rear wheel hit the grass on the side of the road and that’s when I heard a large BANG! My left tyre had blown. The next right hand turn was fine but the last two corners were left handers and I was just praying that my tyre would stay on the rim. I gave it all I had and as I came out of the last corner looked over my shoulder to see Jill coming at me. I put my head down and just went for the line, taking the win by 2 seconds. It was my first Road Race victory for the year and boy did it feel good!
My goal for the two months was to try and win the World Cup Series but unfortunately I finished second, 8 points behind Jill. So the World Cup Series is still on the bucket list! But I finished the World Cup season with 3 Gold, 2 Silver and 1 Bronze, so I can’t be disappointed.
It was an amazing learning experience the 2 months in Europe. I feel much more in tune with myself not only during racing but also training. When you have nothing but training to focus on you really do learn how hard you can push yourself. I’m now back at home preparing for the World Championships in South Africa at the end of August and going in with my confidence high to do the best that I can possibly do.