Jennie Stenerhag

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A historical win at CykelVasan




CykelVasan is the biggest MTB race in Sweden, during 2 days 22000 cyclists will take part in many different distances. 13000 did the 94km race on Saturday. The MTB race follows the  same route of the classic cross country skiing race, Vasaloppet, which has a been held on this course since 1922! For the first time in the history of the race , the girls  were going to have their own start, 45 minutes before the men so that we could have our own race! It was really appreciated amongst the girls and we were close to 50 in the elite ladies category, a lot more than previous years! It was great to stand at the start being nervous for the race and not worrying about a hectic start,or if some girl would get away with a group of men or a crazy dangerous sprint for the finish amongst men! We were also given sprint prizes the same way that the men have had all these years, so a big step forward!

It was an honour to get  number 1 in such a massive field! I felt the pressure ;)

It was cold and rainy on Friday afternoon and we could only hope for better weather and when we woke up on Saturday morning we could see the sun, it was still cold, +13 degrees at the start. I got a nervous start to the day when my valve on the back wheel was leaking sealant and we struggled to get it to stop. I was holding thumbs through the whole race for it to stay sealed…

It turned out to be a really good race, Åsa set a high pace as soon as the car left us and I took over to keep the speed high all the way up the first 2-3km climb and when Ilooked around at the top I saw that we were a small bunch of 6 girls away, perfect it was exactly what I wanted. We started to work well together and I picked up the pace when we got to the first sprint prize to be sure no one was going to pass. I took the 1st, 2nd and 3rd sprints and when we got to the 4th one, which was a hill sprint, I got a gap and got away. Only Ida and Felicia caught me and soon after we lost Felicia and it was clear that it was going to be a sprint to the line today. Ida took one sprint prize and I managed to take another 2. With a few kilometres to go I started to plan and prepare for the sprint and with 1,5km to go I was the one at the front, not a perfect situation but I was still hoping I could do it. But suddenly with 700 meters to go I turned around and saw Ida dropping! I gave it my all to get as big gap as possible and I could come on to this historical finishing stretch on my own and even having time to celebrate the victory in front of all the spectatours! It was an amazing feeling!!

I was the first person to have won CykelVasan two consecutive years and it was also the first time a girl has come to the finish completely on her own (summer and winter) so it was a historic victory in two different ways.

A huge thank you goes to the organisation at Vasaloppet for having the separate start for us, it really worked out well and I hope it is here to stay!

Also a big thank you to everyone around me who makes this possible for me to do, I could not do this on my own! A special thank you goes to Åbro for always supporting me!! And of course thank you to my dad and Craig for driving to all the check points with wheels (in case the valve would leak) and bottles which I did not take (guess I should have taken more since I struggled to pee in the cup after and had to do it twice to get enough….for the doping test) 

Number 1

The start (Photo: Eva Önnemar)

Getting the final gap! (Photo: Garry Jones)

Podim with Ida and Felicia

The fastest bike with the Lauf fork

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