With Lourdes in the past, we were all excited to get away from the frigid French climate and exchange it for some tropical Australian weather.
After about 30 hours of traveling, Nik, Ivan, Bernat, Carmen, Ernest, and I were happy to finally touch down in Cairns and meet up with Jack and Dean. We were excited to be greeted with warm weather and clear skies. Lucky for all of us, our bags made it and we were able to get into our rental cars and make a quick 20 minute drive to our house in Trinity Beach.
Once we made it to the house, we all hoped in our board shorts and went for a dip in the pool. Ivan and Ernest had the chance to build some wheels while hanging out in the pool, while the rest of us had a chance to catch up and most of all get to see Jack after his injury that he sustained at our team camp in January.
The next day Dean, Jack, Nik and I got the chance to walk the track. From hand size spiders to stinging trees, it was key that we found lines that weren’t going to potentially run us off track. We were all in good spirits from walking a dry track. None of us wanted a repeat of the conditions in 2014, that brought nonstop rain and a virtually unrideable track. Unfortunately for us, that was the reality of the next day. While the conditions were not nearly as sloppy as 2014, sections such as the rock garden and alien tree, were just as slippery as in the past. Practice was difficult for all of us, almost no one was making it through the rock section. It was hard to get up to speed because of how tricky to conditions were just to ride, let alone go fast on.
With qualifying the following day we were, the tension was high, due to the conditions that were even wetter than the day before. Everyone was struggling with the conditions and all of us just wanted to have clean enough runs to make it through to the next day. Nik was the first to drop, and had an over the bars crash in the tricky rock garden, that took out number 1 junior Finn Illes for the weekend. Nik still finished in 10th with a crash that easily cost him at least 6 seconds. I was next to come down and found troubles in the rock section as well. But for me it was a mechanical issue that bent my chain guide up into my frame making it hard for me to put power down on the very pedally track. Lucky for Dean and Jack they had clean runs that got them into Saturdays final. We were all super happy to see Jack back in form after back-to-back collarbone injuries that took him out for 2 full seasons.
Since I was sidelined for the race day, I was able to cheer on my teammates for the final. Nik was the first to come down and took the hot seat with only 9 more riders to drop. He was able to hold off 3 more of them before he was knocked off the hot seat and ended up in finishing in a respectable 6th place. With Finn out for the race, the overall is still in sight for Nik as he maintains his 3rd place overall. Both Dean and Jack came down one after another since they were both close in qualifying results. They finished even closer in the final, with Dean in 41st and Jack just ahead of him in 40th.
With a little over a month off before the next round in Fort William we are all headed back home to put some hard training to get into top shape for one of the most physical tracks of the season.