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UCI World Cup, Round 3 - Leogang, Austria, 12/14 June 2015

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After the miserable weather at Fort William the team headed off for the next round in Leogang, Austria, two days later. Unfortunately Jack had caught the man flu from Fort William (cheers Scottish weather!!) so wasn’t feeling good at all. Jamie and Pete were fighting fit and hoping to get their first world cup points on the board with a good performance here.
When the lads walked the track they got a nice surprise. The Leogang trail fairies had finally added in some fresh loamy root sections in the top woods to make the track more technical, instead of the standard bike park lines we’re used to getting from Leogang. The day had been sunny and warm and the track was dry and dusty. Things changed rapidly after track walk, as a huge storm rolled through the valley dropping a stupid amount of rain as well as hail stones the size of coffee beans! The ground went from bone dry to saturated in the space of half an hour and practice was certainly going to be interesting in the morning!
Jamie and Pete were up early and checking out the track in the group B practice session at the start of the day. Conditions were very tricky and they were finding it hard. Pete got a good few runs done and by the end of his session he was feeling good. Jamie on the other hand didn’t have such a successful time. Towards the bottom of his first run he had a big crash and hit his head hard. Unfortunately he had to have a rest in the pits for a couple of hours because he wasn’t feeling great, so only got one more run done with Jack at the end of practice. Jack got 7 practice runs in and went from feeling good at the start and middle of the day, to feeling very scrappy and having some crashes at the end of the day. He was tiring easy with his man flu!
Qualifying day and everyone was unsure on whether it was going to rain at some point during the afternoon or not. That would make things very interesting if it rained half way through qualifying! Jamie and Pete had a good practice session in the morning. The track was much drier than when they were last on it the day before, so they were both feeling good going into qualifying. Jack had a frustrating practice session feeling rough with his flu, but his third and final practice run was better than the rest had been, which gave him a bit of boost going into qualifying.
Jamie was first up and we weren’t sure how he’d manage after the limited practice he’d had missing most of Friday because of his crash. Watching on we saw him come through the second split only 13 seconds back which would put him easily into the top 30 without losing much more time. Unfortunately yet again he didn’t turn up at the bottom! This time things were more serious. The air ambulance was called and officials told us it was a potential head/neck/spine injury they were worried about. So off went Jamie to hospital in his first ever helicopter ride that he wouldn’t actually remember thanks to his concussion. We were left to try and focus on the rest of the day.
Jack was next up and he put a much better run together than he was expecting! He dropped into the final wooded section knowing he’d had a good run, so backed off a bit and kept it smooth to the finish. Coming through the line for 27th place he was happy. Pete had a crash in the top section and unfortunately missed out on qualifying again. Straight after the qualifying session Jack and team manager Phil headed down the hospital to see how young Jamie was getting on. He’d been given the all clear for neck and spine, but had to stay in overnight because of the risks of having a bang on the head and a concussion.
Race day and Jack was up and at it in the morning looking at lines and getting himself ready for finals. Again there were concerns about rain in the afternoon, but it hadn’t happened for qualifying so hopefully it would be dry again today as well. By the end of practice he was feeling good and the track was so dry it was running really fast.
Warming up at the top before his race run Jack was aware that the wind had really increased throughout the day. Still feeling rough, with a bad chest and cough, he was hoping there wouldn’t be too much of head wind on the pedal section. Making two mistakes up top, he went through the top split with the 64th fastest time and knew his run wasn’t going well. Keeping calm through the top woods and hitting it all smooth he knew he’d made a bit of time back. Unfortunately the head wind was strong on the motorway, and with the man flu, he said he just didn’t have the lungs for it. Keeping things tidy down through the final woods he crossed the line with the 41st fastest time of the day. Not what he wanted from the weekend, but being ill he was happy to come away with some points and move into 39th place in the series! His best ever ranking and definitely something he can build on moving into the middle of the season!
We now have two weeks of training before the next BDS round at Bala, and the Swiss world cup round the week after.

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