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Val di Sole World Cup – Cam Cole Rider Diary
Day 1: Track Walk
The Monday after the Fort William World Cup was complete it was a 3am wake up call and we were off to Val di Sole for the second World Cup. Despite its rugged reputation, the Val di Sole track has looked after me with podium results for the last two years. I was really looking forward to another World Cup after a mechanical at Fort William. Despite the mechanical, I was still able to salvage a decent result, but not what I was looking for. The track walk went well. The track looked as if it would live up to its reputation: brutal, steep, rocky and rooty. I was looking forward to practice in the morning.
Day 2: Practice Day
The first day of practice went well. I got four runs under my belt and I knew where I was going. The bike feels like its working just as it should. My tyres of choice were a 2.5 Maxxis Minion on the front and a 2.5 Maxxis High Roller on the rear.
After practice I headed up the track to walk again, just to get check out a few lines and make sure I wasn’t missing anything. The track changed a lot after one days practice, it was quite amazing. The rocks and roots became more exposed as the dirt was torn off the track. With qualifying the next day I felt like I could lay down a good time so I was looking forward to getting it done.
Day 3: Qualifying
Practice before qualifying went well. I tried out some 2.7 Maxxis Minions because I thought there was the potential for them to work well with the way the track was developing. They didn’t feel as good as my tire combo from the first days practice so I changed backed to them before the qualifying run. I didn’t feel quite as good in practice as the day before. I think I was slightly overriding the track and it was a case of keeping it as smooth and fast as possible.
I had the number 16 plate and was the 16th elite man on track. I felt smooth and fast and was working into my qualifying run getting quicker as I progressed down the hill. I came into one section fast and missed my exit line drifting wide onto a line that I had ridden in practice earlier so I wasn’t worried, I didn’t want to slow down – with the racing the way it is now every millisecond counts and you can’t afford to brake unless absolutely necessary. Next thing I knew I was on the ground. The marshal dragged my bike off the track but I managed to get it back on and get on down the hill to finish. I felt like I just played a game of rugby against the All Blacks all by myself. My head, neck back and shoulder were dead but surprisingly all okay – all that injury prevention gym work over our southern hemisphere summer paid off.
Day 4: Practice Day
I missed practice today because I was really stiff and just walked the track later in the day to ease into it. A lot of people had a day off practice so they could be fresh for the race.
Day 5: Race Day
Heading down the track on race run it was hard to believe how much the track had changed from the first day. I felt good considering the previous two days and was getting quicker as I gained more confidence as I went, then I went down and crashed in a section that also ended up claiming a number of other riders including fellow kiwi Brook Macdonald. It was a disappointing end to the weekend with a 36th place and 14 seconds off first place; crashes are frustrating as they always leave you thinking what if…