Jennie Stenerhag

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Good training in the mud!


It had been pouring down with rain for 2 full days and it was still raining when I drove to Wellington early morning on Saturday. It was the Gravel Travel MTB race, last year it was a national series race but not this year. I got a phone call while driving from a friend who said she would turn around and go home, maybe a good idea…?! I thought to my self that it would be great training for riding in the mud, an important race can also be muddy and I would certantly not go out in pouring rain to train on slippery trails!


Not so many people showed up, I could not see any other girl at the start so I could take it easy and see it as good training.


This was among the muddiest race I have ever done, it was simular to day 2 at the Epic and day 1 at the Cape Pioneer last year! I had lots of fun in the beginning sliding around on the singletrack trails. The area around Wellington is fantastic to ride, which also made me really want to do the race. The first 25km was alright but then it started raining more and up on the mountain it got really cold. I rode on and off with a guy and it was motivating to at least see someone else around, it was well needed motivation when we after 2 hours only had done 32km and not even half the distance…


At the 44km mark it was so cold and I was covered in mud, we rode down a single track and the mud was so thick and slippery that I had no control over the bike, I just slid into a bush. My gears stopped working from all the mud and I regretted putting on a new chain and chainrings last night, at that stage I was really wondering if this was the right thing to do today…


Finally we came out on some open gravel roads and the distance meter was ticking a bit faster. We rode together with the shorter distance riders, and I could not believe it when I saw a split with only 5 km to go! That could only mean that we had something difficult coming up! We went up a last long hill, but luckily we got rewarded for that and finished off the race with a great downhill single track!


I was the first lady on the long route and I gained some mud experience but I think it costed me some break pads and cables and a rain jacket that will never get white again….;)



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