Words by Milan Cizinsky
After a great week spent at Trail House Rychleby and a race in Poland, I embarked on 25 hours of travel to France. The following day, we immediately did our track walks and on Wednesday the trainings started. Most of the tracks were hiking trails that lacked flow and seemed to lack appeal from the beginning. They started with long sections of pedaling and the rain made the trails very difficult through a combination of slippery rocks and a lot of mud.
It was hard to motivate on the first day of racing...starting at 8am, through pouring rain and about 2000m of climbing. I was saying to myself that it will be a tough competition and I'll be happy for a top 10 finish. I completed stage 1 safely, but had a crisis on the middle section of stage 2, but still made it so that last years winner (Broderick, who was 20 seconds behind me) did not pass me. Stage 3 was great until the mud was so great that it started to slow my rear wheel and I had to pedal even through the steepest descents. Day one in the books and I was in 3rd!
Once again, it rained through the night.... So I ran a mud spike on the front and a Vigilante on the rear! Second day I gave it all I had! Stage 6 was full of mud and stage 8 was even more brutally hard on the body, but I sent it and didn't lose much to the top riders. In the end, I celebrated my first 2nd place in an EWS round, which brought me up to 3rd overall in the masters category. It was the toughest race of my life!