World Cup #5 - Fort William, Scotland - June 7, 2008


(l) Sweet berms in Ft. Bill - note the bloody knee; (r) Disappointed, but at least I had the best hair (according to my Mom anyway).

It was my first time in Scotland and everyone assured me it would be damp and dreary, but they were wrong. It was puzzlingly dry and (relatively) warm and sunny, especially on race day. The course was a really cool 7.6km loop of rocky riding, which started with a 3km gravel road climb, followed by a long, swoopy descent around bermed corners, over jumps and bridges, through rock gardens, and then a long flat ride back to the finish. It was super fun to ride, but when it got to racing it, things were different.

Once again, I had a good start in the initial 100m, but I messed up on the first steep, loose climb because of all the traffic, and had to dismount and run. Back on the bike, I felt good climbing, but when I came to the downhill, something felt off. I had a little crash as I impatiently tried to pass a woman on the inside of a berm. Then I crashed again later in the lap (another one of those “What just happened?!” crashes). The second crash threw me off, as I had to stop and straighten my handlebars and I had cut open my left knee again. D’oh! For the remaining four laps of the race, things kind of stayed the same. I rode my heart out and passed girls on the climb, but when it came to the descents, I just couldn’t get it together, and the women I had just dropped on the uphill, passed me back. It was quite frustrating, since I usually consider descending one of my strengths! I suppose I had lost confidence because of the crashes.

So, despite my best effort and some great cheering from my Mom, Marie-Hélène’s Mom, and Catharine’s Mom and Dad (yeah parents!), I placed a disappointing 40th. I will just have to go home and do some hardcore downhill training! I’m not discouraged, however, and am looking forward to the upcoming Italian Cup in Vermiglio on June 14.

Sandra

Elite Women :

1. Marie-Hélène Prémont (Can) Rocky Mountain 2:00:42
2. Margarita Fullana (Spa) Massi 0:13
3. Sabine Spitz (Ger) Ghost 3:10

40. Sandra Walter (Can) X.O-Felt Women’s MTB Team 13:49