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Paul Hodgson photo

Paul Hodgson photo

Monday, 18 May 2015

Lourdes World Cup, Port Angeles Pro GRT and the Sunshine Coaster!

Hello,

It's been a busy past few months for me with 3 early season races and building/setting up my new bikes, but I’m very happy to be racing and riding lots!!  I started the season off in Lourdes, France for the first round of the World Cup series, with a few crashes throughout the weekend I was happy to make it to finals and finish 63rd.  Next was the Pro GRT in Port Angeles where I finished 15th.   I also competed in the Sunshine Coaster DH a few weeks ago, and was happy to take the win on my home track. 



With the first race of the year on a track as fast and rough as Lourdes it was a bit of a wake up call to say the least.  I’ve had a really good winter of training and riding, but putting it all together at the races takes some time.  

I traveled out to France on my own for the first stop of the World Cup series.  I flew into Barcelona, then rented a van and drove out to Lourdes.  

It took a few runs to get into the flow of the track, but after that it was a lot of fun!  I was really nervous leading up to my qualifying run.  You only get one go at it and it’s hard to find the balance of how hard to push it.  A mistake could leave you out of the finals as there are 150-250 elite men vying for those top 80 spots.  Convincing myself that those thoughts weren’t helping me ride faster was something I worked on a lot this winter and it was satisfying to put it to use in my qualifying run and "ride what was in front of me" and put the worrying to the side.  I had one small stall up but was happy to come down in 70th, a little close for comfort but I was in and that’s all that mattered.   I did another trackwalk Saturday and found a few lines, but always try to remind myself to trust my line choices, and not get caught up in what line other people are taking.  If I don’t feel comfortable on a line I will change it, otherwise I stick with the one I've ridden most.   

Although a lot of World Cup tracks require flow and precision, some sections just require smashing your way from A to B with no pity for your bike.  I struggled with my setup over the weekend, but that’s to be expected at the first World Cup and a new bike. I know what to do different now and that is something I will be working to get dialled before Ft. William. 

Sunday morning I came into an off camber section of the track and slipped down off my line body checking a tree, which luckily was padded, but after bouncing off that I landed and hit my hip pretty hard and knocked the wind out of myself.   Fortunately I was able to get taped up, which gave my hip a tad more support.  The first few pedal strokes out of the gate were pretty wimpy (literally the only peddling required on the course) but after that the adrenaline kicked in and I was able to get down.  I wasn’t able to push as hard as I would’ve liked to, but as I was considering not even racing I was happy to come down with an alright time and take 63rd.  

Next was the Pro GRT down in Port Angeles.  The tracks there are always a lot of fun and this time was no different.  With a lot of World Cup riders there I was aiming for a top 10.  I am still sorting a lot of things out with my new bike and getting it setup, again I wasn't 100% comfortable on it, but I made do and had 
some fun on the track and ended up 15th.



A photo posted by Forrest Riesco (@forrestriescodh) on

After that was the Sunshine Coaster DH at home on the Sunshine Coast.  I opted to ride my trail bike as the track is quite mellow and carrying speed is very important.  I had only recently built up my new Banshee Spitfire, and it was my first time riding 650b wheels.  I was blown away by how the bigger wheels carry speed and make the bike feel bigger and more stable!  I felt really good on it by Sunday and was able to take the win!  And set a new personal best track record by a good margin, which I was very happy with!




I'm happy to get the first races done and somewhat walk away, well maybe limp away from the first.  I've been working a lot on my bike setup and just this past weekend I started to feel really comfortable on my new 650b Legend DH bike.  It just takes time to play around with different setups until you find something your comfortable on I find, and when you do its amazing!! When the bike does exactly what you think it will do in all different situations that gives you a huge boost of confidence and you feel like you can take more risks as you know how the bike will react. 

Next up is the Fort William World Cup #2 in June.  I will be in Europe for 5 weeks over June and into July for 3 World Cups; Fort William, Leogang and Lenzerheide.  As well as a IXS European Cup in Schladming.  

Cheers for taking a interest in my racing!

Forrest  

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