I left South Africa on Monday and arrived in Sweden to very nice spring weather, it was so nice to be back home again! The first day was very nice, I first picked up my Scott Scale which I will be doing a lot of races on, including the World Champs. I then went to pick up my first ever brand new car!!! A Skoda Kodiaq from Bilmetro in Borlänge, the Kodiaq has only been on the market for 2 weeks! It felt so cool to drive away with a brand new car, thank you Bilmetro!!
After only 2 days at home we packed the Kodiaq and left for Stockholm. I was able do my ride there to check part of the route when we arrived. It was good to get familiarized with the terrain since it was very different riding on nice hiking trails and cycling paths with a few technical sections here and there. The route had short short climbs and downs, often with a corner at the bottom of the downhills, just to make it more difficult!
We started at 12.00 which gave me lots of time to get very nervous. It was chaos at the start with all the men, the guys are very strong here in Sweden and of course everyone wants to be at the front. It was also very important to be at the front at this race since we had a neutral start for the first 1,2 kilometers and as the car left us we turned 90 degrees on to a narrow uphill cycle path, after being on a 15 meter wide road!! Anyone could have guessed there would be a crash right there! I got held up from the crash and just managed to get around it without clicking out, when I got going and looked up I could see Åsa and Nellie in the middle of the hill. I had to chase hard, I could not risk them getting away with a bunch! I passed Nellie quickly and got on to Åsa’s wheel, I sat there to recover and passed her when I felt good again. I got in to a nice bunch with around 10 guys, it was hard in the beginning and I had to dig deep, I got that burning feeling in my lungs which one normally get after a prologue. The speed eased up a bit and I was happy with how I could sit comfortably in the bunch. It was a fast race with all the ups and downs and corners and a lot of accelerations which really hurt the legs. I felt very fresh when we started the second loop after 40 kilometers but suddenly with 9 kilometers to go it was like as if I got hit by a hammer and I had to dig very deep to stay with the guys. I was very happy to finish the 63 km course in 2h17min38sec and on a new course record!
I must say that even if I was expecting it to be a bit boring without single tracks it was a fun and fast course, something constantly happened and one could just never relax! I hope to be back at this race next year!
My bunch on its way out on the second loop
Just after the finish
The podium together with Felicia and Hanna, and my 2kg chocolate ;)