By Yannick Eckmann
My alarm woke me at 7:50 AM and I went down to get my first meal into me before the race. After I had a nice, solid breakfast, I went back up to my room to relax and to put my legs up to rest them. My next meal was at 9:30; some rice with cheese and salt, my main pre-race food. After I ate, I relaxed a bit more and then headed to the world championship course.
The roads were covered with snow and the course was frozen. I was really excited with the course and how the conditions whre. I pre-rode a couple of times and then headed to the German team tent to warm up. At first, I had Fango tires on for the pre-ride, but as the temperature got warmer and warmer I knew that the ground of the course would melt pretty fast with the temperature and the people riding on it. I told my dad to switch the tires to a Limus mud tire. After my warm up I headed to the start line with 15 minutes until the start so I could ride back and forth on the starting straight.
At that point, I saw that the course had changed from the frozen, snowy course to a muddy, soft course. I was smiling when I saw that because I normally have a good ride when it’s muddy. With 10 minutes before the start, we started to get called. I was the first one in the 3rd row to get called up. I was pretty happy with that and chose to stand behind the Belgian. With 2 minutes to go we got the final words on how the start will go down. Then, we got the 30 second warning and soon after that the lights were coming on. There were 5 red lights up front. One light turned on per second, and after all 5 were lit all of them turned green and the race was on!
I tried to get away as quickly as possible, but I didn’t get off the start as well as I had hoped. I was pretty far back at the beginning, but when we got into the dirt I tried to move up. I was moving up pretty rapidly and consistently, and of course safely. After 2 laps, I was riding around 12th position and still on my way to the front. A lap or two later I started to fade a bit, moving down to 14th, then even farther down to around 18th. I was fighting really hard on the technical section, feeling comfortable and thinking I was making up ground, but on the long straight where it was deep mud I just couldn’t produce the power and I moved way more slowly than the other riders.
With two laps to go, I started to pass some other riders. With one to go, I tried to go even deeper into the pain, to go faster and pick up a couple more riders before the finish. I moved back up to 14th with half a lap to go, but then, just as the last technical section came up, two more riders passed me. At that point, I had to wait for the sprint to see if I could beat them. We came onto the straight almost together and I gave it everything I had. When I crossed the finish line I wasn’t able to get the two riders, so I finished with a solid 16th place. I was happy with that result since I gave everything I had during that race and improved myself from last year a lot.
When I got to a stop, a chaperone was waiting for me already because I was selected for doping control. I was just smiling because I was a random pick and before the race I thought, ‘what are the odds that I will be picked for random doping control?’ Because of doping control, I missed most of the pro’s race and only saw the last two laps. Walking away from the venue, I was happy about how I had ended my season and that I was able to be part of the world championships for the first time in the US.