I was excited to race again after a 3 week training period, which was very much needed! It was the 6th race in the Swedish Marathon series for this year and the 2nd for me. We are having a really bad summer in Sweden and it rains a lot, this weekend saw the biggest rainfall of the whole summer and the warnings for floods were all over the news! I just had to tell myself that ”I really like racing in mud” to keep the positive thoughts leading up to the race.
I crashed at this race two years ago, after only 200 meters when 2 guys hooked the handle bars in front of me! I took it very easy in the start this year to stay on the bike rather than finding a good position. After 3-4km of riding on a straight fast gravel road without seeing anything due to all the mud and water from the wheels, we passed a spectator point and I heard the commentator saying I was first with Hanna on my wheel. I felt her prescence and approaching the first hill sprint after 7km I turned around to see her still sitting on my wheel, I sprinted and took the hill prize.
We were together until about 20km until the first technical single track which was a bit longer, I planned to try and get away there and moved up in the bunch when we got close to the start of the single track. It worked because I got a gap! I worked hard to stay away and after 35km when we came to a spectator point and did a U-turn I could see her coming in as I was going out, she could only have been 20-30 seconds behind. We were so muddy that the commentator could not see who was who but had to look at the computer to see who had just passed, it was a very muddy day out there!!
I kept a steady high pace not to burn everything just in case Hanna would come back, like she has done in so many races before, I know that the race is not over until I cross the finish line. Everything went well and when I came in to town I could relax and put my arms in the air and cross the finish line in first place. My Scott Spark was really good on the rocks and in the mud today, I saw so many people fixing punctures or crashing today and I was happy to stay on the bike at all time!
A huge thank you to my parents for standing in the rain all day to give me bottles, which I ended up not even taking… And a well done to my brother who finished this race without much training this year!! Impressive everyone for the dedication!