It has been a week with hard training to prepare for the European Champs next weekend and the World Champs in 3 weeks time. It is sometimes difficult to balance races during training periods. I still had a good feeling in my body during the session the day before the race, even though it ended with some stress when my shoe broke, not the right time! Luckily the local bike shop managed to fix it, I want to sent a huge thank you to them! All they wanted in return was that I went to the race to win, since I had a functional shoe again!
So with that in mind I went to Stockholm with my mom, my dad was still sick so he had to stay at home to watch the race live on the internet instead. I had a good, calm but excited feeling before the start and it gave some extra motivation to see all the friends that had come to support. I got a good start up the steep skislope which we start with, and also on the first gravel road. After a while I could hear that Emmy was right behind me, I rode offensive and I felt strong. The first loop ends with a long single track and I could get a good gap here to take the first sprint prize back at the venue. When I just left the venue to go out on lap 2 I could see Hanna coming in.
Early on when we had started lap 2 we were slowed down for an ambulance to get through and Emmy caught up again. We were together for a bit until she disappeared and a guy said that she might have punctured.
I had a good day, one of those days when everything works, if I put power down something happened and even though I had a high heart rate and was pushing hard it felt easy, not like some days when you have a high heart rate and push hard and everything feels like a struggle and you are fighting for every meter. To get these things right is what makes sport so interesting and such a challange!
I also took the second intermediate sprint and I got the information that I had a 1 minute gap to Hanna in second place. I pushed hard but could feel that it was not very fast, I had no help from anyone around and did most of the work on my own. With about 9km to go a group came from behind in a very high speed, in that group I saw Hanna! I kept calm and I knew that it was going to come down to a sprint so I placed myself on her wheel and stayed there. I was discussing with myself in my mind what was the best tactics for the finish was, I decided to keep being offensive so with 1 kilometer to go I went to the front of the bunch and went first in to the last single track, with 450 meters to go we had a 180 degree uphill switchback and we were still head to head, I took the lead up the grassy hill with Hanna stuck on my wheel, the last 30 meters of the uphill was so steep you had to bend your bike to get up, I pushed as hard as I possibly could and heard the commentator saying that I got a small gap, that gave me the energy I needed to sprint really hard the last 200 meters and could take the win by 12 seconds! It was a really nice feeling of happiness and relief to take the win after being in the lead almost the whole race and with such an exciting finish!
It is always nice and special to win in front of cheering supporters, especially when the main sponsor Cape Brewing company was there, thank you Henrik for coming to watch! Pronghorn was of course also there and very proud sponsors! Together with them was also Jan from Norvelo who is the Pronghorn retailer in Stockholm. It was nice to meet Thomas from Crow adventures which iRide Africa has started to work together with. Also a huge thank you to Ingrid, my old skiing friend, who came to watch and updated Facebook with pictures and reports, was so nice to see you after so many years!!
I have now got 2 days at home in Falun before I leave for Ireland and the European champs on Sunday and then straight to South Africa for the World champs on the 29th of June.
The start up the skislope