Words: Tahnee Seagrave

 

The countdown to the first race of the World Cup season was finally over. It’s an odd experience turning up to such a familiar scene but simultaneously feeling like you’re taking a leap of faith in to the unknown. Our off season is a bit like a journey through rehab. You walk away from a summer of living and breathing racing the clock, get slight withdrawal symptoms, then you suddenly get a taste for it again, revealing athletes at their most vulnerable. For me the first race is a tester and will give me a firm ground to stand on after being hidden from the crowd for 8 months.

To say I was excited to be back racing is quite possibly the biggest understatement, but coming off the back of the season I had last year I couldn’t help but feel pressure; it’s a position I haven’t been in before and it was a little more difficult than I had anticipated. In my head I’m still just a little girl that loves sparkles and unicorns and has big dreams to win races and it still blows my mind that I managed to achieve that. Racing never gets easier- every round is different and has to be approached with a fresh mindset and that’s what I love about it.

There aren’t many tracks that scare from start to finish. You usually get a few features that give you a little fright, but this track was a constant demand top to bottom. Fortunately, I thrive off a good challenge and being out of my comfort zone, so for me, this was a good thing and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. As fun as the track was, racing it was a different ballgame. Being only two and a half minutes long there was a very small margin for error, if so, not at all. But on a track full of big, awkward loose rocks it made this task practically impossible. Patience was key. Mistakes were inevitable so you had to keep your mind strong, your body composed and your eyes up.

I can say this now because I was left head scratching after my qualifying run. I let the wave of nerves devour me and it was the worst I’d qualified in the last 4-5 years. Race day was amongst us and after spending the evening before studying the track and a crammed hour of practice in the morning sorting my sh*t out, I felt ready for the battle. My ‘on’ button was finally switched. I have to mention, this is something that I am always trying to do a little earlier in the week, it’s a work in progress but I struggle immensely.

I fought my battle as well as I could that day and finished with a result that this time last year I would have been satisfied with. It’s not that I’m not happy, far from, it’s just at this point in my career my own personal goals have been raised and although I am content with the result considering certain factors, I remain an athlete and a competitor with an extreme desire to win.

If racing were easy I simply wouldn’t do it. I’m glad to be apart of an era where women’s racing is stronger than ever and I’m very happy to leave Losinj with a raging fire inside me and hunger like never before.

‘Practice like you’ve never won, play like you’ve never lost.'