Fort William is one of the most prestigious events of the MTB Calendar and 2017 marks the return to racing after nearly a month of hiatus! I headed into Fort Bill brimming with confidence after a solid few weeks of training and riding in California, however, the nerves built as practice approached with track changes and a new bike to learn in the already limited practice.
Thursday brought track walk, the top section of track was very similar to the previous year but a new middle section and an updated super technical woods section had been built! I was excited by the changes and knew that there were parts that suited my strengths.
Friday brought practice and on and off rain showers as I headed up for my first run of the week. I soon figured out that the changes were really fast and left little room for error. As practice went on with the help my mechanic Ely I made progress on the setup of the new bike and with every felt more confident to push.
As I headed up for 1 last run before timed practice began I decided to try a new line through the woods. unfortunately, I missed judged the speed required and crashed hard onto the top of my head, as soon as I rolled over I knew I had hit hard. I got to the bottom of the hill with pain all don my neck and back. after a check up, I was cleared of concussion and bone damage. I pack the bike away for the afternoon.
Saturday brought Qualifying and more pain from the previous day's crash. Having not cleared the woods out of my mind I headed up for my run confident I had the speed to make the all important top 80. Immediately after I left the start gate I started to lose focus, make mistakes and waste energy, I tried to reset but I had already made the critical mistake resulting in another crash. I got up and with mud all over my grips and gloves, I tried to push on.
I ended the day outside the top 80 required to Qualify, ending my weekend a day early.
Now to re-group and head to Leogang in Austria for round 3 this weekend.