This pneumonia took longer than I expected, overall it was 4 weeks…
After my last website update I had to see another doctor and get another type of antibiotics which helped me to get a bit better . My plan for this year's XCM World Champs was to do ”Lida Loop” in Stockholm and then go directly to Italy to prepare in Val Gardena. Worlds started at 1550 meters above sea level and the highest peak during the race was at about 2300 meters. I normally struggle a bit at high altitude and therefore wanted to stay up there for 3 weeks before the race to acclimatize.
Of course I could not do Lida Loop, which disappointed me since I missed both races (Långa Lugnet and Lida Loop) which for the first time had a ladies only starts for us! I decided, however, to follow the plan and go to Val Gardena to recover and to acclimatize to the high altitude.
It did not quite go as planned. The first few days went well and we took it easy to acclimatize to the altitude, but after a few days my heart rate started to go up, both during rest and easy rides, which meant that I could not really start to train hard. At the same time Craig got bronchitis and had to stay in bed for 6 days.
One day when I was out on a slow ride and was heading down a mountain pass my heart suddenly started to rush and I could see the heart rate going up on my Garmin, I stopped and got off the bike, but the heart rate stayed at 216 even if I tried to breathe calmly. I remembered that I had read somewhere that you should lie down if this happens, so I lay down next to the road and eventually the heart rate started to come down. It lasted for 2 minutes, and of course scared me a bit. I spoke to a cardiologist who recommended me to do an ECG before I raced or trained hard so a few days later I went to Bolzano hospital to have an ECG. The doctor, who did not speak any English, saw something he did not like, exactly what I did not understand, but he wanted to keep me overnight for more tests. It was an experience to be alone in a hospital where no one spoke English and I could not speak their language. I had to sleep with the ECG connected, I had to have X-ray's of the heart and lungs, ultra sound, stress-ECG and countless blood tests. In the end, they said that the heart was good to go and I could go ahead and race. At the same time, they said they could see traces of pneumonia in one lung.
It was a few days later before I felt completely 100% healthy which was 4 weeks after I got sick. With one week to go until the World champs I could finally start to train, I did a few longer rides mainly to see the course and 3 days before the race I could do my first and only interval session.
A World Championship is always an experience and everything around it, since I was there I decided to start. My mom and dad were there to hand me bottles along the route, which also meant that I was able to get off at any time if I did not feel good!
It was cold in the morning when we started at 7:10 but luckily it turned in to a warm and beautiful day, which we had very few of during our 3 weeks there. The first climb was brutal! In the first minute of the race we started the 5,4km long and steep climb, we climbed 800 meters in that short distance! I almost did not make it and thought a few times that I should not have started, but then I eventually came to the downhill which I had practiced a few times and knew well and could pass 8 girls on the way down. It motivated me to carry on. That was how the rest of the race also went, I got passed on the uphill to pass them again on the downhills. On the last steep climb (out of 4) my energy was empty and it was so steep that I had to get off the bike a few times, I just could not turn the pedals…
It is simply impossible to do a race over 60km with 3400 meters of climbing without being in form. I finished and after the circumstances, it was an achievement in itself! The result is nothing to write home about, but I will take with me that the decsents went very well and I could pass girls on the downhills, which was the opposite to the World Champs 2 years ago in Austria when it felt like all girls could ride faster than me downhills;)
I want to say a huge thank you to my sponsors Cape Brewing Company and ÅBRO breweries for the great support I have and for making it possible for me to prepare in the best possible way for this year's World Champs. It did not go as we had hoped but hey, that is sport! And it is even more important to have supportive and understanding sponsors in situations like this! Thank you CBC and ÅBRO for being so awesome!! I really appreciate it!
I am now looking forward to a healthy and strong season in Sweden, on Sunday I do my first race in Sweden this year – Mörksuggejakten in Rättvik!
View over the beautiful valley of Val Gardena!
First ride to explore
This area is amazingly beautiful!
I was lucky to get to try the new Lauf fork in Val Gardena, it works well and makes the bike super light, but unfortunately it was not right for me during the race.
Passo Sella became our routine route, unfortunately it was often the weather looked like this...
They did not cater for cyclists at breakfast at the Bolzano hospital...;)
I was a heart patient so was not allowed to walk.
On the first race route check, here at the top of Passo Pordoi
Checking the first downhill!
Craig going down one of the steepest and most technical section of the race, unfortunately the picture does not show how steep it is...
Every country had their own little corner of town, proudly Swedish!
On Sunday 21st of June was the Sellaronda bike day, all roads closed to traffic between 8.30 and 15.30! Was a great vibe!
It was us and 20.000 others:-)
We took the opportunity to do some sightseeing with my parents and took the cable car up to the top of Pordoi at 2950 meters altitude
Panorama pictures from Pordoi
The first time this South African experiencing snow:-)
Checking the route one last time!
Bike and kit is race ready!
I might not leave as a Hero, but the flag was nice;)
I can highly recommend Stoffel Apartments if anyone is going to Val Gardena!! It is a really nice self catering place run by Petra and Günther who will look after you very well!
Inside our flat
Günther showing us around