Chris Hutchens - Season Update
June 14 2010
The past few weeks have been crazy for me. I started a summer placement, attended a 21st, a best friends wedding, the first IXS European cup round in Scotland, Edinburgh University Blues Awards and the 2nd round of the World Cup. It's been madness, and I have no idea how I've managed to come out of the other side alive. It doesn't seem to be slowing down either.
IXS Cup at Innerleithen
The IXS European cup came to Innerleithen and the UK for the first time on the 28th of May. It now seems to be the biggest series next to the World Cup with a very high standard of riding at all of its events. A brand new track and venue lay out was used and it turned out to be a huge success. For a number of us the race was very important, but when we received invites to our long time riding friend Stu Thomson's (MTBcut) wedding, our commitments had to be shifted slightly. Luckily the event ran over 3 days so I put in two practice runs on the Friday then shot down to Dumfries for a friends 21st party before attending Stu's wedding on Saturday. It wasn't great race preparation but we all had a great ceilidh dance and that's always the main thing. Come Sunday I was feeling pretty tired but managed to get in another couple of practice runs before the finals. I put in a fairly solid run making only a few mistakes on the track where I wasn't as confident as I'd have liked. I finished in 22nd place with a very international field in attendance prior to the World Cup the following weekend.
After a busy weekend it was back to work for a few days before heading south from Perth back to Edinburgh for the University of Edinburgh Blues and Colours award. It was a pretty fancy affair and made it my 3rd sit down dress up evening in a week. I did decide to give the tartan trouse a rest for a night and instead a nice kilt got thrown on. I knew I was receiving a Blues award along with 30 other very talented and successful athletes studying at Edinburgh. This was in my eyes a very honorable award to receive with the Cameron Blue of the year being the pinnacle of any sporting student at the University. When my name was called out on the short list alongside four others, I was fairly surprised. I’d worked hard last year, improved and had some memorable results, but I didn’t think I was in line to win given the success of the other athletes.
Laura the Sports Union president began to describe some of the achievements of the Cameron Blue of the year with a move to Elite in 2009 being a successful step forward. I thought that was me out of the running as I moved into Elite in 2008. They luckily got this nformation wrong and I was called up for the award. I was over joyed and relieved when I didn’t have to give a speech. Following the evening and an attempt from my personal trainer John to get me plastered and celebrate the night I grabbed 4 hours sleep before heading up to the 2nd round of the World Cup at Fort William and my first one of the year.
Next was the World Cup, the biggest event of the year with every World Class rider giving it everything, especially the Brits who always want to do well on home soil and in front of 20,000 spectators.
A lot of changes had been made to the track on the weeks running up to the world cup. A more flowing and fast track dominated the hillside of Aonach Mor and due to the weather it was unusually dusty and loose. This proved difficult but seemed to settle come finals on Sunday.
Over most of the weekend I rode with fellow Orange rider Ben Cathro. He left me for dead in the early runs and with his recent form was riding completely ridiculously. This pushed me on and took me slightly outside my comfort zone. In Qualifying I rode a careful ride after my wheel completely disintegrated in last years qualifying run where I didn’t make the finals. This year it seemed to work for me, only just though, with a top 80 finish taking me through to Sundays final. By just, I mean 77th place - I shouldn’t have taken it quite so carefully.
This gave me a lot of confidence going into Sundays final, as I knew I had a bit in the tank and my early practice runs went well.
I was one of the early riders out of the 80 who qualified. My run went well and I knocked nine or so seconds of my Qualifying run putting me into 2nd place when I came down. This time was only 12 seconds off of the fastest rider from the previous day. I watched most of the riders come down with many going slightly quicker come finals. I finished a respectable 53rd with close racing on the four/five minute track. Fellow Brit Gee Atherton pulled out an unbelievable bottom section and took over 2.5 seconds off anyone else and secured himself his 1st win at Fort William.
Now it’s a busy few weekends packed full of racing again with the 3rd round of the World Cup in Leogang Austria in 2 weekends time and a National in Wales the weekend following that. This weekend I head down to the Scottish round at Innerleithen.
It’s been a busy few weeks.
Thanks again to everyone who has supported me and has helped me compete at such a high level.