"A little mud, a little sweat, and a whole lot of teamwork," was how Emily Batty viewed this week's World Cup in Nové Město—often referred to as the most technically challenging World Cup race on the circuit.
The second round of World Cup racing took place this weekend in the Czech Republic, and the wet, muddy conditions couldn't have been more different than the week before in Germany. With rain and mud for the slippery short track on Friday and even more mud for Sunday's race, riders were forced to off their bikes to run slippery, rocky uphills, and finished the race coated in grime. In the short track, American rider Haley Batten eventually took the win, and on Sunday, French racer Loana Lecomte scored her second World Cup win of the season.
Canyon MTB Racing's Emily Batty continues to move up in the rankings, scoring a 15th place finish in the short track and a 17th in the cross-country race. And Laurie Arsenault's first season as an elite racer is going well too: She moved up from the back of the pack to finish in 53rd on Sunday.
During the race, Emily's second row start allowed her to move up into 11th mid-race, though she eventually settled in and finished in 17th. Laurie's 77th place start position (a 9th row start) meant her goal was to move up through as many riders as possible during the five-lap race, and she made her way to 53rd.
Both Emily and Laurie were riding the Canyon Lux team bike, and while Laurie opted to run a Fox dropper post, Emily opted to skip the dropper for this race. Schwalbe's Racing Ray for the front wheel and Racing Ralph on the rear wheel allowed for optimal traction on some of the muddier, more rutted sections that felt more like a motocross course than a bike racing one.
Many racers suffered from crashes and mechanicals, including American Kate Courtney, who broke a brake level early in Sunday's race. But the Canyon MTB Racing team made it through the weekend of racing with no problems, just smooth riding. "It feels good to finally kick off what we hope to be a long season of racing ahead," says team manager and director Adam Morka.
In the overall standings, Emily has moved up to 22nd from 24th, while Laurie sits in 57th. (Check out the full standings onPinkbike here.)
Coming up next, the team gets a much-needed short break before the next round of World Cup racing in Leogang.
Learn more about the Canyon MTB Racing Team in the first episode of the ongoing Ambitions video series documenting the teams pursuit for performance.