Jennie Stenerhag

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Fjällturen - what a day...!


I really like to be in our cottage up in the Swedish mountains but this time it was mostly to be inside and sleep, I got a cold/flu the day after the European champs and was sick all week, 3 of the days I did not even go outside the house. I had a big question mark around “Fjällturen”, if I should do it or not since I do not train or race if I am sick, I don’t want to take any risks. I felt better on Thursday but decided to take one more day off and on Friday I felt ready to ride. We went to Funäsdalen and rode on the race course, I took it very easy but I felt ok and got my number and prepared for racing.

It was an early morning since we started at 8.30 and we have an hour's drive from the cottage to Funäsdalen. I did not know if I was just tired, nervous or was worse again in the cold cause I did not feel good in the warm up. I decided that it was nervousness!

We were about 30 girls on the start line and there were some strong girls so I knew it would be a tough day out! We went steady up the first tar climb out of town and the pace picked up as we left the tar and when we got to the first single track on top of the mountain we were only 4 girls left, it was Nellie, Sara Öberg, Ida Jansson and I. We had a good pace working together on the gravel roads and in the forest. We were riding on a rocky downhill after about 20 kilometres when Ida suddenly passed me (I was riding behind Sara), it took me by surprise and I was just not prepared that Nellie also tried to come pass, she came so close to me that we hooked each other and could not get a part and I got some good air when the bike stopped side ways and I flew! I had time to think about a collarbone but somehow I landed on my hip and leg and managed to get up with only some blood on my knee. Nellie was also fine but her handle bar snapped…. We were both very lucky not to brake anything, it was a hard crash!

I got back on my bike and chased back to Sara and Ida and could rest a bit on the short tar section before the water point and the 5-kilometre climb started. I had planned to try and attack on the climb but I felt really empty and tired so did not think I would have it to get away. Ida dropped after a bit and closer to the top I also rode away from Sara and I was in a solo lead. Suddenly I noticed that my breaks were sitting higher than normal and I then noticed that my handle bar was loose, I started to way my options of riding with it a bit loose or stopping to tighten it. I normally ride with my multi tool in my back pocket to reach it quickly but since I never need to use it I had today decided to put it in my saddle bag. Eventually it got so bad that I could not ride like that any longer, so I had to stop, get the saddle bag off the bike to get the tool out. I then found which bolts were loose and tightened them. Sara and Ida passed me and I got a little bit stressed and got going again, chasing! As I caught up with them, I felt that I had not tightened the handle bar enough, so I had to stop again and chase again… I managed to catch them again and pass to get away on my own again. Unfortunately not by much and Sara caught me again before the last downhill and we were together to the finish. I was very happy to manage to take the sprint for the win after everything that happened during the race.

The joy was short though. Nellie came up to me to tell me that Craig had crashed and as I turned around I see him sitting on a stretcher with a neck brace next to an ambulance… Nellie and Ulf had found him on the road after Nellies and my crash. The doctor took Craig to the small doctor station in Funäsdalen where he waited for the helicopter to take him to the nearest hospital which could x-ray his neck. We are in a remote area and that hospital is a 3 h drive from the finish of the race. I waited for my dad to finish and then prize giving before we drove back to our cottage and I dropped my parents and all the bikes and drove to the hospital. All was good with Craig and he could come back with me. 6 hours after I left, we were back at the cottage, tired but very happy that none of us had any serious injuries after this eventful day.

Just after the first climb. Photo:

Sara and I a few hundred meters from the finish. Just a bit of blood on my leg;) Photo:

Last corner, you can see the finish!

The podium with Sara, I and Ida

My dad close to the finish! Photo:

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