This year I was able to spend the month leading up to the ISDE training in France. I caught up with Team Australia in San Juan, Argentina the week before the event. We used the time to walk the special tests and commit them to memory. It was pretty uncomfortable wandering around, it was such a hot dry heat and there was no shade anywhere!
The Opening Ceremony was a lot of fun with all the countries parading around the main part of the city before the racing began.
Day 1 and 2 were the same course and consisted of a lot of dusty tests, river rock beds and a very nice motocross test. We were all glad to see the end of day 2, because after two days of the same special tests it seemed the dust ruts never ended! The first two days went well and I adapted to the tests and both days I was first in the Women’s Division. At the end of day 2, the Team Australia Women’s team had a lead of 15 minutes and 12 seconds over second place Team USA.
Day 3 and 4 were also the same course both days. These two days were spent mostly riding in and out of the sand dunes. They were by far the most exhausting days, in the heat and fighting my way through the very rough dunes. The water in my camelbak quickly became hot so I really appreciated the small time I had to stop at the controls between each section. I was changing air filters almost every control during these two days. They were long days on the bike with barely any time to hydrate properly and recuperate. I managed to win both days extending my outright lead and our Women’s Team extended the lead to 1 hour, 43 minutes and 7 seconds over Canada. At this point of the race more than 50% of the starters were considered as a DNF (did not finish).
Day 5 I felt like my body had recharged and I was back into the racing with a vengeance. There were all new special tests, which again were dusty but more open and very fast with scary rocks sticky which kept me on my toes! I encountered my first small mechanical issue in the trial section when a rock flicked up and did a bit of damage. With the help of the awesome Team Australia support crew I got it fixed in time to stay on my scheduled time minute. I was very grateful to have now won 5 out 5 days individually in the Women’s category. The Women’s Team extended their lead to 1 hour, 55 minutes and 28 seconds over Canada.
Day 6 and it was time for the exciting part of the event with the final moto. There was a final 10 minute work period in the morning it was then a one hour trail ride to the motocross track.
The racing was just one final race for each category. In the Women’s race the adrenaline was pumping and I managed to be second out of the first corner to my team member, Tayla Jones. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to stay with her on a motocross track. I kept the pace up for a couple of laps, but with armpump kicking in and Tayla maintaining a fast pace I dropped back to finish the moto race in second place.
Overall the Women’s Australian Team finished the event with a 1 hour 58 minutes and 4 seconds lead over Canada followed by USA. Claiming the win two years in a row for Australia was a great feeling. Our team was strong all week and worked together to make sure we got the job done and made Australia proud. I finished in first place outright in the Women’s class with a 10 minute and 19 second lead over Jemma Wilson with Tayla Jones third. It is the second year in the row I managed to achieve this result making all the hard work throughout the season worthwhile.
The event was incredibly different to any terrain and conditions I have ridden in before. With approx. 6 to 7.5 hours a day in the saddle I got to see a variety of the countryside around San Juan. It really makes you appreciate how lucky we are here in Australia. I have a lot of respect for the Argentina people and fans, they were always happy, full of energy and supported the motorcycling community to the full.
It takes a lot of hard work from all the riders, but without the dedication of the Motorcycling Australia members, volunteers, parents and partners who commit their time and effort it wouldn’t be possible to compete in the ISDE. They do incredible work behind the scenes, during the nights leading up to the race and at the time controls waiting for each rider to make sure we finish strong and as a team. Thank you to everyone who helped to make the 2014 ISDE a fun and successful adventure, this event definitely brings out the true Australian spirit. It is an honor to represent my country and wear the Australian jersey.
A huge thanks to Jonty Edmunds for use of these images.