Liv: On Saturday's pro stage, you suffered a front flat near the top of the course. Describe how the flat happened and your mindset as you continued to ride down the course.
Rae: Yes unfortunately, it was my first flat in years at a race. It was the third corner in, I was late to enter a highline on a right-hand corner which meant I was slightly off my line. When I came back down onto the mainline, I landed on something sharp. There was an immediate ‘ppshhhhhh’ as the air left the tire. My immediate thought was not a nice word, it was my own fault for a bad line choice, but still devastating feeling the race was over before it began. There was four minutes left on the stage. I made the quick decision to try to ride it down, I am not a great runner, and the tire was still sealed to the rim, it felt like I still had 5psi in the tire. I rode slow and carefully to protect the rim, if the rim broke, I incur a 5-minute penalty which would be impossible to come back from. I rode over the back on the bike more, trying to unweight the front, and only used the back brake. I managed to get down the track and only lose about 30 seconds, which is a lot of time, but I could have easily lost minutes if I didn’t ride smart.
Liv: In 31st after the first stage, you steadily pulled back time with each stage on Sunday, culminating with a 7th on the final stage. Did each of the stages go to plan on Sunday? How did you stay calculated to jump 20 places from the previous day?
Rae: After the pro stage I honestly thought my race was over and I was devastated. Once I got back to the accommodation, Jesse and I started crunching numbers and realised I could make up a lot of positions if I had a good day on Sunday. I put Saturday behind me and set a challenge to see how many positions I could make up. I was consistent throughout the day, then on the last stage I knew it was my last chance and I wanted to give it everything and have nothing left at the finish line.