One of the hardest thing for an athlete to do is to defend a title, it creates a lot of expectations from yourself and from others, it is always easier to win something for the first time! I got to feel this the days leading up to the Swedish Marathon Champs, I so badly wanted to win this title again since it is a great honour to race for a year in your national colours. I got inspired by 2 people before, first my Pioneer partner Robyn who defended her SA colours in Marathon and then Jenny Rissveds who defended her Swedish Champs jersey in both XCO and XCE a week ago!
Both Åsa, who was 2nd at last years Swedish Marathon Champs, and Emmy who was 3rd were on the startline and they had both showed good form lately so I was prepared for a hard fight. I was very nervous before the start but it is funny how that all just disappear as soon as you hear the start signal (today they actually used a vovozela!!!). My plan was to be the first girl on to the first single track (all categories started together) and then try to just keep them behind. It all worked out well and I was in the lead from start to finish! I had a good flow in the racing and could keep a constant high pace. I had one gel and drank enough (this is normally my weak point) and I think that helped in the heat! I had been in Alingsås for 4 days leading up to the race, so that I had a chance to see the route and train on any difficult sections and I could feel that I had an advantage on the single tracks by knowing what was coming up.
I was told that I had a 1,5minute gap just after the hill sprint prize and when we came to the start/finish to go out on lap 2 I had a 3 minute gap, it eventually grew to 6 minutes by the finish. The climbs were mostly on the second loop and I was a bit afraid that I had gone out too hard but it was all fine and on the last kilometres, which were all on single tracks, I only had one word in my head “focus” not to make any mistake when I was so close!
It was such a great feeling to cross that finish line as the Swedish Marathon Champion once again!! It was a feeling of happiness and relief that I could do it! I am looking forward to wear blue and yellow for another year!
Close to the finish
Podium with Emmy and Åsa
I had a photo shoot for Pronghorn the day before the race, great that I can carry on riding in this kit!