Result: 8th place (overall)
This third race in the XCup series was in the lovely Vallåsen Bike Park. The track is really simple: You go up on a mix of singletrack and gravel road. It's about 150hm of ascent. Then take the downhill track back down. And repeat as many times as you can until one hour has passed.
About 90% of the downhill has berms (banked turns) and bumps (small hills) that you need to negotiate in a quick way, and without crashing.
All the known faces were there on the starting grid, but also two semi-professional Danes, who had come over just for this race. They were quite a bit faster than the rest of the field. Remember that XCup does not have any racing categories, we all compete against eachother.
I was a bit worried at the start that I was going to be a bit slow for the first few minutes but that turned out not to be a problem. I was passing riders all the way up the hill the first time... I went past Jakob Håkansson, Björn Österberg and then also caught up with Johan Malmsten whom I managed to get pass on the second part of the gravel road climb. Towards the top I was at the wheel of Warren Bates and Philip Premberg. At this point I looked behind me and saw that I had a gap to the rest of the gang. In front of us were just the Danes... but they were faaaar ahead.
Going down the first downhill segment Warren and Philip left me for dead, as expected. Then on the second downhill segment I was also passed by Johan. This was not surprising as these guys are expert at technical riding. I am not.
At the bottom of the hill, just before going out for the second lap I could see that Björn and Jakob had caught up with me. We kept company going uphill again and then on the next downhill they got a bit of a gap on me as well. Those guys are quicker downhill than I am.
At the top of the climb on the third lap I had caught Björn and Jakob again but then the process repeated itself and they were quicker than I downhill.
The fourth lap went much the same although I never quite caught up with the two on that lap. I went over the finish line in eighth place, happy with my result.
Form and WeightI felt really good going uphill today. My weight is low now and still going down and my form seems good. This bodes well for Beskidy Trophy which starts in one and a half week.
Now if only I can decide how to properly prepare for Beskidy...
I think I'm *ok* at downhill these days. I like natural tracks more than the kind of man-built that was at Vallåsen today. Berms (the banked turns) are ok for me. However the bumps I had a bigger problem: If I go too quickly the bike wants to take off and I feel like it will land on the front wheel and spill me over. So I try to pump with my arms. But there were other guys doing this better than I was. Check out the videos below. So I still have some stuff to learn... but I'm getting better.
From the outside
(you can see me 0:45 into the video, then again at 4:46)