Two years ago when I had just started to race MTB Marathon I heard that South Africa was going to hold the MTB Marathon World Champs in 2014. I then decided that race was going to be my goal, I was going to race until then we would see if I carried on after that. Today was that day when the Marathon World Champs was in Pietermaritzburg in South Africa! It was a privelage to be part of this event in what I feel is my second home country! Of course I already knew before the race that I will carry on racing! ;) And I think todays result just made the motivation go up even higher.
It has been a great week staying with the Topeak team, it is always interesting to see how the real pro’s prepare.
I was a bit nervous before the start, but just enough to feel ready to raceJ. I got a good start after a bit of elbowing with the other girls for position. We became a group of 7 very early on and it spread out on the single track but came back together on the gravel roads. After about 5km 3 girls got away and it was the 3 of them that would take the podium positions in the end. We went down a muddy downhill single track just after the first water point, I was on Arianes wheel and then as I crossed a bridge my wheels just disapeared under me… and I found myself on the ground with the bike on top, I lost some time since I struggled to get the chain back on. I soon saw Robyn again, she had passed me when I fell, then I fell again. My wheels gave way in some mud and there I was laying once more. I worked hard to catch Robyn on the first long uphill to water point 2 which was after 14km. We were together there in 6th and 7th position. We rode nicely together and we chatted a bit and decided to work together to try and catch the 2 Swiss riders, Esther and Ariane, who we could see now and then (but we never managed to do so). After 28km we got to the portage section, it was a 2km stretch with 5 sections of tricky steep descending where we had to walk, I think we lost some time there but rather safe then sorry! The second long climb went well and also the technical descend that took us to the start of the last long climb of the day. Around half way up I lost Robyn, I just could not hold on, I could see her about 100-300 meters ahead up until water point 6 which was after 61km but without getting closer. The last 13km were the most technical and most fun part of the course, I had lots of fun and it was a great feeling to finish off the World Champs on the hand built single tracks that were also used in the XC world cup a few months ago.
I got a 7th place at my second World Champs, a few steps up from my 28th place last year;). The course was awesome and really tough as a World Champ course should be! We rode through some amazing places and I think all the foreign cyclists really got an African experience out there, if they had time to look around:-)
Tomorrow I will leave my one home to go to the other one!
A big thank you to everyone that has made it possible for me to come here!! Cape Brewing company, ICA Maxi Falun, The Swedish cycling federation just to name a few. Thank you to Craig who has been out checking the route with me and made sure my legs were in good form! Thank you team Topeak for letting me stay with you, it has been great!
Team Sweden: Calle, me and Fredrik after the finish
Straight after the finish, tired but happy!
Team Sweden at the presentation the day before the race:-)