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Paul Hodgson photo

Paul Hodgson photo

Friday, 23 September 2016

Season recap 2016!

The 2016 season is complete!  

          I hope you were able to follow along with my racing and travels on my instagram (Forrestriescodh) and Facebook athlete page at Facebook.com/ForrestRiescoDH.    I apologize for the lack of blog updates, but it was a very busy season and by the time I got home from a race, un packed and rebuilt my bike it was time to pack it up and head off again!  


          It was an amazing season and I had some of my best results ever! I also unfortunately had some crashes, of course at the most important races!  But that comes with racing and I learnt so much every weekend, whether it be what worked or what didn’t work.  I felt I was riding well, but never was able to show it in the results.  I learnt so much about my bike setup, suspension setup as well as what works for me to prepare for races be it physical or mental.  All of this adds motivation to get to work this winter and see what I can do for 2017!

Here’s a quick recap of my races: 

-With a few weeks on my new M16C I showed up to the first race in Lourdes feeling very good!  A World Cup track can easily dismiss that confidence though, ha ha.  Although the bike felt amazing, I was not prepared for a World Cup track quite yet.  I rode alright with a top 50 at the first split in qualifying, but later crashed in the bottom 1/4 of the track, actually make that a few crashes as I had no rear brake after the first one.  




Next up was Cairns.  I had so much fun on this track! It was fast with lots of big doubles and triples.  I qualified 61st and bettered that in finals with a 44th!  I was stoked to get in a solid result, although it wasn’t all I had it was a great start.  I also managed a top 10 sector in the bottom sprint, which was kind of cool! (https://dirtmountainbike.com/racing-events/world-cup-geek-stats-cairns-2016.html)

After a few local races at home I headed to Europe for Fort William, one of my favourite tracks!  I had my best qualifier on that track taking 51st, and then backed that up with 47th in finals!  I was very happy with this as Fort Bill is one of the gnarliest tracks on the circuit and a very hard one to even qualify at.  

Next I headed straight to Leogang where I had another great qualifier in 43rd, with a few mistakes in that run I knew I had more.  I pushed hard, but crashed in finals finishing 62nd.  This was a tough one as I really felt I had a top 30 in the bag, but it wasn’t meant to be. 




I had a few weeks to explore a few bike parks in Europe before heading to Lenzerheinde.  And really there's not a lot to say about Lenzerheide.  I really struggle with that track, and made a bad judgement call in qualifying, thinking I could keep it smooth and make finals.  But unfortunately missed qualifying by less then a second.  Onto the next one.  

In July I was back in BC for the Canada Cup in Panorama and National champs.  I was happy to get 2nd at the Canada Cup, and going into Nationals I felt good.  I love the track at Sun Peaks, its scary, but I love it.  I seeded 3rd and had more for finals.  I turned up one notch too high in finals though and blew up off the side of the track not even 20 seconds in, yikes!  I had an all or nothing mindset and thats what took me down.  I don’t usually ride like that, so in a way there was some good with the bad.  But looking back, a tap of the brakes may have not been the worst idea, ha ha.  




Mont Sainte Anne is my favourite place ever!  And I had my best qualifying result ever this year in 31st!  I was excited for race day and had a great run except for one slip out off the track.  That was a hard one, as I really thought I could put down a solid run on that mountain.   I made a few mistakes in my race run and with my bike setup that weekend, but I felt like I was riding really well, so it was still motivating.  

Crankworx Whistler was up next.   I treated these as test races and tried a lot of new stuff with my preparation and bike setup etc.  I had some alright results, but nothing to write home about. 




Andorra was the final race for me of the year and it was by far the gnarliest track.  It’s super fast at the top and just gets steeper towards the bottom.  It was fun, but hard to get into the flow of it.  I’ll admit I completely screwed up my suspension/bike setup at this one, and it cost me.   I had probably one of my worst qualifying runs of my life, I was all over the place.  I can blame that on a lot of things, but it all comes down to trying to change too much in too short of time.  

One of the best things I’ve taught myself to do over the last year is to rate my race runs as I cross the line, before I look at my time or placing. If I had a crappy run or made a mistake,  learn from it and move on.  If I had a great run, decide that before I look at the time, so I don't make up excuses as to why I didn't do well.  Being honest with myself has improved my riding a huge amount, but most importantly how much I enjoy racing.   I surprised myself a few times this year, as even with some of my best results I rated my runs as being pretty terrible before I saw the times.   

Every race this year I have learned so much, you would like to think all of this would just add up and improve your results every weekend.  But it doesn’t quite work like that.  I got a bit too curious this season, as I wanted to understand every part of my riding and my bike.  I want to take a big step forward in my racing, and I feel I can, but sometimes you end up taking half a step backwards before that big step forward. 




Its been an awesome summer!  With the places I’ve traveled, the people I’ve met and the tracks I’ve had the chance to ride its been amazing!  I wouldn’t trade that for anything.   

I’m looking forward to 2017!  There’s a lot I’ve got to sort out this winter, and a lot I want to accomplish next season.  

Thank you,  and cheers for taking an interest in my riding and racing!