Not unusual for this time of year – but we’re loving reliving some of our 2017 days in the sun, starting with Rachel’s victory at World Cup Round 1, Lourdes.
Lourdes 2017 was always going to be a big one for Rachel – coming into the first race of the series as defending Series Champion – and after the massive hype of the Perfect Season there would be a massive expectation riding on her shoulders.
Hurly Burly the 2017 DH World Cup Year book said “ her confidence and finesse peaking after her two dominant seasons”
But away from the cameras and the media that confidence was noticeably less in evidence. A heavy cold kept Rachel at home a couple of extra days and she joined the team late, spending the entire race weekend struggling to keep warm (there was snow below the start hut most mornings so she wasn’t the only one!)
And then the night before Finals Rachel’s favourite riding shoes went mysteriously missing from the pits so Team Director Dan Brown spent a lot of his morning stretching the spares!
It was the first time the team had been joined at World Cups by Graeme Mudd and Junior Kade, Muddy wasn’t too impressed with the cold either but Kade was positively bouncing off the walls for his first World Cup!
The first pre-dawn starts of the year took their toll too so despite a winter well-spent training “in the muck” on Dan Atherton’s super-physical tracks and despite the fact that she’d loved practice on the steep and brutal course Rachel came into the race extremely nervous.
Rach had qualified second as she came on track the wind that preceded the huge storm which famously caused chaos in the Men’s race was gusting pretty hard. Rachel said “ The guy in the start hut said to me” Be careful on the jumps, the wind is strong and there have been lots of crashes but I was just “SHHHH don’t tell me, I don’t want to hear it!”
Rachel said “ Winning here was such a huge relief. What I didn’t know then is all the injuries that 2017 had in store for me so this would be the last of my winning streak, that makes the victory all the more special, Lourdes 2017 is one I won’t forget.”
Pics: Sven Martin