Ready to get back on track

2014-03-18 00:00

FOLLOWING a disappointing crash during her final run at the 2013 UCI MTB and Trials World Championships in Pietermaritzburg, Manon Carpenter is firmly focused on putting the horrors of last year behind her. This she will do when she gets out of the start gates at the top of the Cascades MTB Park’s downhill course at the 2014 UCI MTB World Cup presented by Shimano’s first leg in Pietermaritzburg from April 11-13.

Having raced in South Africa twice previously, the Madison Saracen team rider has had one good performance and then one poor one, with her most convincing performance coming in 2012 where she registered a second place finish behind Australian Tracey Hannah at the World Cup event at Cascades.

“After my second place finish in 2012, I was feeling confident going into the World Champs last year but my crash ruled me out,” the 20-year-old said. “Having to deal with that disappointment has meant that I am really hungry to do well there this year and the top step of the podium is my goal for the event.”

Carpenter has been busy changing up a few elements to what she did last season and has been hard at work during the offseason. It has been a productive winter for the Cardiff resident and she is excited to get out and start the World Cup season in April.

“I have been really happy with my offseason training and I have made a number of improvements too after I altered a few things from last season and I am really keen to see how the changes have paid off when the season gets going.

“I am also fully fit which is always a good start and ready to go racing,” a motivated Carpenter said.

Pietermaritzburg has become a regular stop on the international mountain biking circuit over the last six years and offers downhill competitors a unique challenge. The different conditions and exclusive layout is something that the international riders look forward to when they venture south to compete.

“The track is the most unique part of the trip down to South Africa just because it’s so different to every other venue on the World Cup circuit. I really enjoy the Cascades course, it is fast and flows really well and carrying so much speed means that you have to concentrate.

“It suits my style of riding because of the length of the course and my fitness does give me an advantage, plus I really enjoy courses that have jumps and shape in the ground that you have to pump and make speed.

“The course is always fun to ride which also helps,” she added.

Crashing out in a World Championships is disappointing for any athlete and Carpenter is viewing this World Cup as a way to make up for her disappointing exit from the World Champs last year.

“Crashing out in any event sucks but a World Champs is even worse because it is what we all work for, but I have also had a good performance at Cascades before so I am going to use that as my motivation and make up for what happened last year,” said Carpenter.

Having experienced a long winter in the United Kingdom, getting into the South African sun could prove to be a hurdle in itself with the country’s autumn requiring visiting stars to adjust to the conditions and temperatures.

“When we get to South Africa the heat is always something that we have to deal with so packing suncream is always important,” Carpenter said.

“I always try and prepare for every event in the same way and treat them the same so I won’t be doing anything differently when I arrive in PMB to what I would do anywhere else in the world.”

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