Liv: The final stage of the race was a similar track to the stage you had crashed on the day before – with 1000m of descending over 6km. You smashed it for a 10th place finish on the stage. How did you manage the fatigue of the day to finish so well on such a long and tough stage?
Rae: The first stage of day two I had a mechanical where my chain got jammed between my cassette and frame after I hit a tree. I lost about 20-30 seconds first running and then unjamming my chain. So, in my mind the race was over – normally that time deficit is impossible to come back from. I just focused on each stage as its own race, trying to salvage points for the overall. It wasn’t until I came back to the pits before the final stage where I saw a lot of other people were having a rough day as well. I was still in 15th with the chance to make up positions if I had a good final stage.
The final stage was slightly different to the pro stage so shorter in distance but a lot more turns. This time around I rode smart, I conserved at the top and just rode consistently to not risk crashing or mechanicals. At around halfway, it becomes really hard to hold on to the bike through all the holes and compressions. Around the end, I was using all my strength to not let my hands slip off the bars. I would say out loud, "Ok BRACE," when a big compression was coming up. It must have sounded really funny to the spectators nearby. My body was pretty fatigued, so riding conservatively definitely worked for me and it helped move me up to 12th in the overall.
Liv: With a quick turn around to racing in Italy this weekend, what is your focus for the days leading into training?
Rae: My main focus is recovery and to reduce the swelling. Lots of sleep, food and ice.
All photos by Sven Martin Photography.