A completely new venue for me and one of the few times I have visited the lower Italian part of Switzerland. The course was very good and a lot of fun to ride. It didn’t seem too hard in practice with no real sustained climbing bit it did have several very steep short pinches. There were a lot of nice root and rock features with plenty of alternate lines for passing.On Saturday the course was pretty dry with only the odd mud bog but the rain came down heavily all night soaking the track and making for some very tricky riding conditions for the morning races. By two when our race started it had mostly dried but the rain did leave some wet areas which as the race went on covered our bikes in thick heavy mud and made for pretty slow going. A couple of sections in particular where very bad and they killed the legs having to slog through each lap.
I had a great start sitting in or around the top 10 for the first three laps. The pace was very fast but I wasn’t feeling like it was impossible to hold it and was confident I could ride to a top 10 finish. The course was very demanding when ridden at race pace with little chance to recover. Because of the rain a couple of the steep climbs became virtually impossible to ride and we were forced to dismount and scramble cyclocross style to the top.Unfortunately after a great first half of the race things unravelled badly on the 4th lap with 2 laps remaining. I crashed hard on a descent and this threw my rhythm completely. I blew up pretty badly and lost all my speed creeping round the track for the next lap and very close to pulling the pin. I forced myself to carry on to the end and did improve slightly on the last lap finishing in 30th place.
So not the best start, however there a lot of positives I can take from this one and I have already moved on and am focusing on the upcoming races. I will be back in action again this weekend and will be looking to put together a more complete race.