Grenserittet is a race from Sweden to Norway and it is a great event! I am not sure why but people just seamed happier and friendlier then at other races! It counts as a Norwegian race and the finish is at the old Fredrikstens fort in Halden, it is a great atmosphere!!
I was entered for this race in 2011 but broke my collar bone a few weeks before. I entered again last year but had a crash in a race the weekend before and hurt my coccyx so badly that I could not race. So this year was third time lucky and I could start!!
I have got the best parents in the world, they are supporting me and my cycling at 100%!! They came to meet me in Alingsås last weekend for the Swedish Champs and they had their camper with them. We have stayed on the west coast since then so that I could prepare for this race and be able to test ride the route and get familiar with the area.
I also must say that sometimes I think Facebook is great! I posted a picture and text the other day about me preparing for Grenserittet and my childhood friend, the neighbour I grew up with, read it and it turns out the race actually passes her house, latterly 4 meters from her door!! So we met up and it was 23 years since I saw her last!! It was really great to catch up and of course I had the best fan club and support on race day!
Somehow it felt like a lot of things were different with this race, maybe since it was Norwegian… We had to walk together from the start chute to the start line about 500 meters. We then had a 2km neutral start until the timing matts where the race time started. The racing ladies started together with the men in start group 3. I did not know what to expect since I had not done this race before, the tactics were not to let Borghild go since my guess was that she would be the strongest opposition. The course is 80km and relatively flat and mostly on smooth gravel roads with just a few sections of single track, it is easy riding which means that the bunch often stays together. Early on we were 4 girls at the front of the bunch, Hildegunn, Heidi and Borghild, the 3 girls who were on the podium last year, and me. We were stronger then the men in our bunch and sometimes it was a bit irritating having them sitting with us without really helping. I soon realised that it was going to come down to a sprint between the 4 of us, no one was going to get away on a course like this!
The race ends with a narrow walking path on gravel up to the fort, with about 400 meters to go there is a short steep hill, at the top of the hill you hit the tar in a 90 degree corner and the finish line is about 200 meters down the road. My plan was to attach early, with about 500 meters to go, but we had started to catch riders from earlier bunches so when we got there the narrow path was full of riders and made it impossible to follow any kind of plan! I managed to pass Borghild and Heidi but not Hildegunn who saw me and pushed me out. As we started the short climb I hear a crash behind me, Borghild and Heidi both fell! Hildegunn and I started the sprint on the uphill and were side by side when we hit the top of the hill, I was on the outside and she had the inside. I had to dig deep in my memory to find a road sprint;), I pushed all I had and manage to get a perfect sprint to win the race!! It was a great feeling winning such a big race in Norway! :-)
Pulling the group
Podium with Hildegunn in 2nd and Borghild in 3rd
At my supporters house:-)
Riders crossing the Swedish/Norwegian boarder
A great atmosphere at the finish