After a few years out of absence from hosting a Mountain Bike World Cup in the United States of America, this year it was widely praised for its return to the “homeland” of mountain biking. This time, the race was hosted in Snowshoe, West Virginia, who was regular organiser of National category races in the past. Snowshoe is known for its remote nature, slick dirt with roots and rock filled terrain. With freshly crowned new World champions from previous week, it was now time to secure World cup overall titles at ultimate round of UCI MTB Downhill World cup for 2019 season.
The new Snowshoe track was mixture of everything, from dirt-jump style jumps, high speed open grass sections and awkward slippery rock sections. It looked like a perfect track to finish season’s Final race.
For Žak Gomilšček, the last 2019 World Cup race was again solid. In Fridays qualification run Žak started his run fast with top 10 splits, unfortunately he crashed in the middle part but still managed to quickly remount and was able qualify on 16th place! The dirt was slick and rocks were super slippery, therefore it was though to perfectly execute every section and carry speed through crucial flat sections on the track.
“Coming into this weekend, I felt pretty tired after a long season. After the track walk, I didn’t feel like the track is going to suit me, but I was trying to be positive about it. But after a few laps with the boys on a first day of practice, I started really to enjoy riding this track. Come qualifying day, I felt really good on slow, techy and slippery track which really suited me, but in my run, I crashed and somehow still qualified into Saturdays finals.”
Come the Saturdays Finals race, the track started to dry out and some sections became faster, while the other more slippery due to dust. Žak was on track among the first Juniors and crossed the finish line with fastest time, took over hotseat and sat there for a while.
“For the finals the track dried up so much and maybe I went a bit too safe in some parts because I overestimated the conditions of track. P12 is not where I wanted to be and I know that on a good day, I can be up there with the fastest guys. I’ve also finished on 12th place overall which I’m excited about it. But I’m super happy on this season with some big downs and big ups. I’ve gained so much new experience and learned a lot. But most importantly, I had fun riding my bike around the world with some awesome people. Now it’s time to rest a bit and then back to training. Now I know what I need to work on for next season. Can’t wait for the big challenge next year!”
For Žak, 2019 season was his first full World Cup season with big learning curve as an inexperienced junior racer at the beginning of the year. Throughout the season, he gained valuable experience over the globe, with his biggest highlight of the season finishing as 2nd fastest Junior in Val di Sole. He finished the season on a good note with solid results in Mont Sainte-Anne.
Photo gallery by Keith Valentine (phunkt.com)