Racing Flims had not been part of my initial itinary. A week riding in Morzine was the initial plan but after chatting to local Flims rider, Caro Gehrig at Madesimo, the seed was planted and I mulled over it for a few days. It was going to be my third consecutive weekend racing with La Thuile the following week so I wasnt sure if I should. Decision made the day after Madesimo and it was definitely the right decision! It was a brilliant weekend from start to finish.
The Flims Dakine Trailfox Festival was in its tenth year and it was evident that this was the case as it ran like clockwork and the vibe with racers and organisers was cool. Not only were they running the European Enduro but also downhill races Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Sunday. As well as this, they had a kiddies race and a pumptrack for the little ones set up. The weather helped too as it was up to the high twenties at one point even though storms were forecast. Finally a bit of luck with the weather!
We arrived late the Wednesday evening from Livigno, set up camp and had an early night. We were one of only two campers there but by Thursday the place was half full. Plenty of downhill bikes everywhere and lots of nice VW Transporters for me to drool over! It was cool to be camping next to two British guys, Chris and Kev, who would be our biking buddies for the weekend. These guys were racing the Mega and the Mountain of Hell which was an annual trip for Kev.
Thursday was a nice chilled out day. As it had been a while since I had done some climbing, we went for a good two hour ride up to the top of stage four. The views around us were just wild and the roaring turquoise coloured mountain river was cool to stop and watch. A swim in the nearby lake by our campsite was the perfect end to the day.
Friday was practice day and the Prologue. This was a one and a half minute sprint stage to seed riders. We were told this had to be riden blind but after I found out that most people had practiced it which immediately put us at a slight disadvantage. I was really bummed with my run as I completely overshot the first corner and going a little too fast into the last gravel turn just before the finish line, I skidded and came off losing valuable seconds. It put me into 13th position so I knew I had to do better on race day to make up for it and aim for a top 10.
Practice day went really well and I was feeling confident. My KONA Process 153 was pretty much made for stage 1 which was a steep technical stage full of natural features to catch you out and super tight switchbacks that put me pretty much to a halt. It was just the type of track that I love to ride so I was excited about racing it. Stage 2 and 3 were really cool stages through the forest, short but very very sweet! Stage 4 was a really fun bikepark stage with lots of fast gravel berms, which on race day were a lot grippier from the rain Friday night, tabletops and boardwalk....lots of boardwalk! Racing this stage was such an adrenaline pump and I felt really good on it. Overshooting the very last corner at the end lost me a few seconds but the next three girls after me did the same so it was all relative!
I used my HEDcamz helmet camera for every stage so I spent some time that night doing some footage geeking to keep the stages fresh in my mind. It was really helpful to have the HEDcamz which a cool little camera that produces seriously good quality footage and so was a great help to me to remember the tricky parts in the stages.
So, out of 16 Pro Women and 19 Amateur Women I came in at 8th position which I am delighted with. One thing I really liked about the format of this race was that there were no time restrictions between the stages so it eliminated the stress of having to power through the transitions and having to ride strictly in order every stage. It was cool to finally get to relax and chat to the other girls who Id raced with before but never really had the opportunity to chat to throughout the day.
Race over and the sun came out in force and the vibe around the race village was chilled out and full of friendly, happy people : ) I hung around for the Podiums and got some great photos of some of the best riders in Europe. A nice swim in the lake that evening was the perfect post-race treat, then to the hopping after-party that night. Everyone was in great form, sure it was 90s theme so the music was kickin!
We decided to pack up on Sunday and head straight to La Thuile as it was going to be a five hour drive. So, another great race, another great experience.
Big thanks to MBW Bikeshop, KONA Bikes, HEDcamz, GRranna Energy Europe and AllMountainExperience for their support.
Loving this racing life : )
Irish Female Enduro Racer Flow MTB Team Rider