Jennie Stenerhag

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A win at the "MTB Challange" (previously MTB Argus)



I was a bit extra nervous for this race. This is always the last race before Cape Epic and it is also a bit of a test of the form. There is of course a risk with a race since you push yourself a little bit extra and 2 years ago I wish I had not taken the risk since this was the race were I fell and tore my hamstring muscle and had to go through a complicated surgery which basically took me a year to recover from. On top of that we were also going through the tunnel where I fell on the last day of the Cape Epic last year. That time we went downhill through the tunnel and this time we were going uphill, something I have done many times before without any problems, but the memories were still there from the last time. So many things made me nervous in a different way.


My competitors for the day were Amy McDougal and Ariane Lüthi and it would be tough from the start as we started with the men. After the neutral car turned off and we were free to race, Amy and I were quickly alone, Ariane dropped off from the start. I was sitting behind Amy and the pace was high when she suddenly crashed in a corner. She was quickly back on the bike and some guys caught us and we formed a little bunch where we sat for the first 10-14 kilometres on the flat section. When we got to the first long climb I thought it was a bit slow and I had decided to push hard at this race so I went to the front and upped the pace a bit, I was a bit surprised that no one came with me. I looked back at one time and saw that I had a big gap. I tried to push as fast as I could all the time but felt that it was on the climbs I made up time. I was completely alone without seeing anyone ahead or behind when I came to the tunnel, for the first time ever they had put a light in the middle of the tunnel and in the beginning there was a guy with a strong torch to light it up. The weird thing was that I have never actually seen how steep it is in there, since it has always been dark, and to be honest I cannot understand that they actually take races downhill! Two weeks before there had been another race and I heard 5 people had to go to the hospital after crashing in that tunnel, going downhill….


We rode on a lot of new trails at the end of the course which was great fun! I rode with a new Wahoo bolt and I had forgotten to set it up so that I could see the distance (rookie mistake) so I did not know how much further it was towards the end, but when I looked back I could not see anyone so I took it a bit easy on the last downhill, all I wanted was to finish the race in one piece. That I won the race was only a bonus! I won by about 6 minutes over Amy and 7.5 minutes over Ariane. The body felt good and I was pleased with how the form is 2 weeks before Cape Epic. Now I am looking forward to one of the biggest goals of the year!! On the 15th of March we start!! Please follow us on all the social media platforms!






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