Laura Robson has just returned from Norway, where she’s been working with Atherton Racing during the 2014 World Championships. This is her diary from a dramatic competitions, where every millisecond counted.
Sunday 7th September, Race day
06:00- Breakfast and pack the car to head down to the pits. The mechanics are already at work and very chipper for such an early hour!
Martin, Taylor and Rachael join us for breakfast and spin down on their xc bikes.
07:00-08.30: warm up starts for the juniors and womens class. They get their kit on and jump on the turbo trainers. Meanwhile Browny and Milway organise the timings. The mood is light, the music’s on – as are Timmy’s flapjacks. By 07.30 the riders are on their bikes and heading to the lift.
09:00- Gee is the last to arrive for warm up. In the meantime, the juniors have finished practice and are already cooling down on the turbo as Gee heads out for his first run. Following a quick leg flush out and stretch, the juniors stock up on food and hydration. They are then encouraged to go into the warm truck for some downtime before Martin and Taylor start their race warm up.
10.00- Gee is back after his first run and discusses bike set up with Pete, every detail is vital. He gets two solid practice runs in before cooling down and revising lines. Martin is on the turbo at 10:13 on the dot and Taylor joins him at 10:15. The riders are disciplined with timings and stick to them as closely as possible. I can sense the nerves kicking in for them both. The mood has changed now and everyone is in race mode, Maurrissen is covering the important stuff by ensuring the post race beers are cooling 🙂
Warm ups are done and the boys head out, high fives and words of encouragement and they are on their way.
11:00 – we all head to the finish to watch the race. Things end badly when Martin gets a flat front tyre and Taylor crashes… Aaaagh no good for the boys. They are kept away from the pits as Rachel is warming up, it is important that she has no distractions. The pits are empty for race warm ups, only the riders mechanic and myself are there.
Rachel gets in the zone with headphones on and a set warm up routine then leaves the pits on the dot. Go Rach!!
12:00- we are back at the finish line waiting in suspense for Rachel’s run. Again a few riders are victims to the gnarly rock garden ending their hopes of the world champ title. Manon has a fast clean run and sits in the hot seat. Rachel is on track and things are tense and exciting. She smashes through the top part of the course ahead of the field and is in view pedalling frantically to the finish line, the seconds are ticking by and we think she’s done it….but we see red.
She lost the title by 0.88s of a second, barely a tyre width!! Noooooo! We are gutted. Rachel is gutted and I feel genuinely upset for her.
14:00- It hits the team hard but focus is back when Gee starts his race warm up and the pits are deserted again. Straight on the turbo and in the zone during his set routine. He leaves the pits on time and heads up for warm up number 2 at the top. The suspense is back as we head for the last time to the finish. Dan Brown is taking mental notes of the split times and I watch as riders fall, hoping there aren’t any bad injuries. Gee is on track and emotions are high again, he finishes a fast clean run and lands in the hot seat with only Bryceland to go.
It’s a mixed feeling when Bryceland badly injures himself landing a jump, meaning Gee has won and is 2014 World Champ! I’m sad for Josh but really stoked for Gee. The whole team rush to congratulate him and Rachel is so happy for her brother, Athy is straight on the phone.. It’s a great ending to a long, exciting season of racing!
I’m happy to be a part of it and look forward to next season!