Day one was a tough day in the saddle. Weather conditions forced the stages to run in reverse order. Trail conditions had changed massively since practice so it was hectic trying to find grip. I had a pretty messy day with lots of silly mistakes and minor crashes and one tight transition time which resulted in a time penalty (on stage two).

I wasn’t shocked at my mistakes and lack of fitness considering my lack of bike time over the last nine months due to my final school exams. I didn’t have many expectations coming into this race and after day one to be sitting in second place I was happy. I was hoping to maintain that position throughout the weekend.

Although it didn’t rain too much more day two also took a different direction than originally planned, but it made for a more exciting days racing. I was ready to get stuck in and was beginning to feel happier with how I was riding. Unfortunately, on stage four I collided with a rock and hit my right hand fairly hard and did some damage to three of my fingers. It was a struggle to hold on for the rest of the day but adrenaline and a bit of tape got me through! Right now I am waiting to get them X-Rayed as they are potentially broken but hopefully not.

At this stage in the day I was just concentrating on consolidating my second place position and riding fast and smooth to get both my bike and body to the finish in one piece and that we did!

It was my first big race of the season and my first on the new Process 153DL and I’m happy to say that we made it into second overall! I had forgotten how brutally tough these EWS races are, or as everyone seems to be saying lately “character building”. I have learned a lot this weekend and I am looking forward to some time at home to prepare for the remainder of the season.

Leah’s brother Jonathan also raced at the La Thuile EWS round finishing 131st in the trying conditions.