Imagine… It’s the final round of the world cup and you have set a goal for yourself to finish in the top 20 overall this season. You have been riding clever all year after missing two rounds, to achieve the goals you have set and now the nerves slowly kick in from the minute you wake up on race day… This is how world cup finals day went in the eyes of Matt Walker.
Straight out of bed and time to get some fuel down you. You have a fine line of what to eat. Too much or too little can make the day go one way or another, so having the correct balance is key to a good practice session.
Making sure you have everything set for the day, it’s time to jump in the car and head to the pits. Between your mechanic and yourself you make sure your bike has the correct tyres for the condiditons and that everything is ready to go as soon as you finsh your warm up.
keeping your mind from wandering, you get out your Outdoor Tech Rhinos and blast your favourite tunes to get into the mood to ride. Around 10:00am you've got into the zone and it's time to warm up.
A heavy rain storm had rolled in over night making the track slick and well… let's say slightly wet. Your warm up is complete so you head straight to the lift and it’s time to get a few runs in. Since the schedule has changed for 2018 you now have one hour on Saturday morning. This is the time to make any finals tweaks or changes to your bike or lines before your race run.
Two consistent runs later it's time to get yourself cleaned up, fed and re-energised before the big show. Keeping your bodies temperature high is key to keeping your muscles from seizing so a wash down and a change of clothes is nessasary before warming up with some hot food.
Time to prepare your kit for finals:
- Goggles - CHECK
- Helmet - CHECK
- Gloves - CHECK
- National Champs jersey - CHECK
- Underwear? - Sometimes...
- Trousers - CHECK
- Shoes - CHECK
- Bike? - Might come in handy!
With your race run around an hour away, it's time to gather your things and head up the mountain with your mechanic, warm up bike and a warm jacket.
Your mechanic has set up your turbo trainer and it's time to get serious. Headphones on and your in a world of your own. No distractions. No outside thoughts. Just you, your warmup and thinking about what needs to be done in just over thirty minutes.
It's time to let it all go. Let your instincts and muscle memory take over. Your body knows best and it's time to race! You have a countdown on 30 seconds, 15 and finally on 5 where you're able to attack and put down your best run possible.
You cross the line after a hard, wet run down La Bresse hoping that you've put in the correct preparation and had the speed to achieve your goals.
As the last rider crosses the line you now know where you have finished overall for the 2018 season. With a year mixed with injury and missing two rounds you realise that you have finished 21st in the world, just outside of your goal but you have earned yourself a top 10 in your home nation race so you can't complain in your first year of elite mountain biking.