I’ve been on a voyage involving planes, trains, automobiles, flights of slippery steps, golf driving ranges and lots of crazy, unhealthy nosh (the downside of being on the road!)
This weekend, I headed out to Lisbon, Portugal for the Lisbon Downtown race. The race is invite only, so only the top of the top get invited. Fionn managed to get me in, so I was super stoked to even be there, let alone ride it! The race is absolutely mental! I landed on Friday night, got collected at the airport and taken on a tour around Lisbon before being dropped off at our swanky hotel. Upon my arrival, I was told about the schedule, which by the way was gnarly! At 6 that evening, all the riders gathered together to do a group on foot course inspection.
The race is pretty unique; it starts at the top of the Old town in Lisbon. The course is closed to the pubic and you get to race from the castle at the top of the town, through the narrow streets, over the cobbles, round all the tight corners and down loads of flights of steps! It is the only time I have ridden urban and been able to blast past policemen without being pulled over!
All the riding was done in one day. Each rider was given a personalised number plate and an individual schedule, we had our own vans to shuttle us up the hill for training and a seprate van for our bikes. The organisation was super slick! We all had 4 practice runs and one qualifier. Each practice run had a start time and was scheduled. The majority of the riding we did was televised, with the semi final and the final going out live and being displayed on big screen at the bottom of the course! It was one of the most alien races I have ever done, the terrain was wacky, the cobbles were slidy as ice and super tough to turn on and the steps weren’t much better! The jumps were nuts too, there was one jump over a car, evil kineivil style, and a huck off one set of steps onto another! I really loved riding the course, but I have to say, I sucked! A lot of the girls had raced the track numerous years previous which I do think gave them an advantage. As a downtown virgin I could really have done with more than 4 runs to get to grips with it. Needless to say, I didn’t make the final and finished 11th! I was gutted, but I know what to expect next time (if I get asked back)!!