Thursday and Friday were practice days with three stages to practice each day. I knew heading into day one of racing it was going to be challenging with a 2hr 15minute climb (1000m) to transition to the top of stage one. It was also my first alpine enduro race and the stages were longer and steeper than I had ever experienced before. I knew that it was going to be tough to race stages averaging at 10 minutes with some savage climbs mid stage at altitude. All that said, I still could not wait to get racing and I was feeling good heading into the race weekend.
Stage one did not go to plan for me. I lost a lot more time than I had hoped as I struggled to get used to the long rough alpine stage. Stage two went better for me as I started to learn how to pace myself for the longer stages. I suffered a lot with sore arms and hands on stage three which cost me some time. After day one I was sitting in fourth position in U21 Women, 18 seconds behind third position.
Here’s a #repost from 16 year old Irish Enduro shredder Leah Maunsell from this weekends EWS round in La Thuile, Italy – This video shows how physically demanding racing this weekend was. It was the toughest two days racing I’ve ever done with altitude, big climbs and extremely long and rough descents to deal with. But It was also the best two days I’ve had on a bike! I finished up with fourth place in U21 women just less than half a second behind third. I’m delighted to have finished out the weekend mechanical and injury free. Thank you very much to everyone for their support and especially my sponsors who made it possible for me to travel over here. It’s been an amazing experience! @world_enduro #konabikes #process153
Coming into day two, I felt more confident and I was determined to catch back some time. I dug deep on some of the tougher sections on the stages trying to find the right pace without taking too many risks. I knew I was only five seconds off of third place heading into the final stage of the weekend, stage six. I fought back as much as I could on this physically demanding stage but what I gave was not enough leaving me in fourth position just less than half a second off third place.
I was disappointed not to get onto the podium after such tough close racing right until the end. It was an invaluable experience racing out here in La Thuile for me. I learned a lot here this week and I hope to use this experience to prepare myself better in the future and come back stronger.
My bike was amazing all week and got me through the race mechanical free!