Sep 09, 2015 AUTHOR: Alan Milway
Gold and Silver at World Championships 2015
This year the Downhill MTB World Championships travelled to Andorra. The track is long and steep, with a good mix of terrain.
The weather was going to play its part; with heavy rain forecast for much of practice, then settling in to dry conditions for race day.
Track walk confirmed that there was numerous line options, and critical turns where time would be gained or lost – carrying speed would be vital.
Practice is split up between categories and meant for long days on the hill; filming, comparing lines and also gathering some data from the athletes. I had an accelerometer fitted to each of them over the course of practice and timed training to record the demands on the athlete during the course of a competitive downhill run. I always like to gather information to further my understanding of the physical demands of racing, and have used power cranks, heart rate monitors, blood lactate sampling and accelerometers for this.
Martin Maes competes on the World Enduro circuit, but loves to race downhill when the schedule allows. Still a Junior he has won World Cups and wanted to add a World Junior Downhill tittle to his Palmares. After a good week of practice he put in a solid run, and took Silver Medal, behind GB athlete and Downhill Junior Champion Laurie Greenland. A great result for Martin – who was incredibly mature in his approach all week.
Rachel Atherton had a hard season in 2014, with illness and fatigue hampering her, she still took Silver medal in 2014, and this year has had a full winter of training behind her. Following a 2nd place at the first World Cup round, has won every other race so far. A Gold was all she was after, and she managed to deliver after huge pressure all week. A fantastic result!
In the Men’s event, Gee Atherton is defending World Champion. After a year filled with niggling injuries from crashes and where speed and strength have been there, but a perfect race run has eluded him, alas Andorra was to bite him hard. In touch at the split, and with a bike set up for the bottom steep sections, Gee had a huge crash mid way down, where he caught a tree stump. A difficult end to the season for him, but one that fuels the fire in preparation for 2016.
A Gold and Silver Medal to take away in 2015 is reassuring that the program is working well, and I look forward to planning for 2016 already!