World Cup Rounds 5-6: A weekend of problem solving
Another huge weekend of racing at the biggest World Cup round of 2019. Paris hosted a massive 59 Women 201 Men on one of the most technical tracks on the circuit, St-Quentin-en-Yvelines (SQY).
Saya and I arrived in Paris on the Thursday of the week before racing. With the technical track layout and the facility being home to the French national team, we knew that we had to get some prior track time to ensure that we had ample time to practice and trial the track before racing.
It was a weekend of mixed results for both of us. Saya started off the weekend well in the earlier rounds of Round 5, but went out in the semi finals, unable to properly commit to the start in fear of crashing again like she did in Manchester.
"The fear of crashing was still in the back of my mind, and I went upwards in stead of forwards out of the gate" Saya explained.
So Round 6 was about re-strategising to accomodate for this: The solution was to ensure Saya was getting fast lap times so that she had an early lane pick, and to choose either lane 1 or 8. It was a better day for Saya, this time comfortably making it into the Final, and coming away with a 5th place finish.
"I had an awesome first straight from lane 8 and was in 2nd into the first corner, but got pushed up by Laura Smulders", she recounted. "I'm just happy that I was able to put together a strong start and first straight when it counted."
Saya had the fastest lap time out of all of the girls for the weekend, which was a huge confidence booster for her.
It was a tough weekend of racing for me. I lost my rhythm on the gate during the week of racing, and was unable to get my routine back. Consequently, my starts were just not quite on the level that they normally are at.
However, I was still physically in great shape, and riding the track fantastically well. In Round 5, I was battling with Joris Daudet for 4th position in the Quarter Final, when I saw that he messed up a jump on the third straight. I knew that I was carrying more momentum than him and set up for a high-low pass on the last corner, when Asuma Nakai from Japan took the opposite line and ran into me, washing away my speed and derailing me from my line. I wasn't able to get past Joris from here.
In Round 6, I was stacked up between France's current top 2 riders, Joris Daudet and Jeremy Rencurel on the gate, and got shut down on the hill. It was a messy lap from here bumping riders left and right, but unable to progress up the pack, finishing 7th.
My starts are something that I've worked really hard at all off-season, and it was really disappointing for me to allow this to slip up on race week. However, my riding otherwise was super strong and consistent, and to be able to come away with the results that I did on an off weekend was a big plus for me.
We now have 5 weeks to prepare for the World Championships to be held in Zolder! Thank you for your continued support!