I am always very nervous before important races, I guess it is because they mean a lot to me, and the Swedish Marathon Champs is in a way one of the most important races of the year since it is a great honour to wear the yellow and blue jersey. We were supposed to drive to the race in the morning but decided to go the night before instead and sleep in the camper, so that I could sleep longer on race day. It was a good call!
The sun was shining when we woke up but it started raining just before warm up but luckily it stopped before start. It was one of those races when you don’t know how much to wear. For the first time we had a ladies only start at the Swedish Champs, it is so much better for us to have our own race, even though it was a small field but it was a strong field!
We started on a steep longish climb and Åsa went to the front to set the pace, I followed her wheel and found the pace perfect not to burn too much. After a few hundred meters I thought to myself that it was very quiet behind us and looked back and could not see anyone! I must say that I was a bit surprised. It was perfect though, Åsa and I started working very well together straight away and did so for the first 40 kilometers! I know that Åsa normally does not last for a full marathon at that pace so when I heard that she was getting a bit tired I put the pressure on and when we got to a single track which I knew very well, I got a bit of a gap and pushed it even harder until I heard that the gap opened up. From there I was on my own but in a way I found it a lot harder since it is so difficult to know if you are pushing hard enough to stay away or too hard to last the full distance! I tried to pace myself well but also got very nervous the last few kilometres since I still know that a mountainbike race is never over until you cross the line, anything can still happen to the bike.
It was an incredible feeling to reach the top of the last climb and finally be able to relax and just roll down the last hill on to the finishing stretch and put the arms in the air to celebrate my 4th consecutive Swedish Marathon Championship title! I was so happy!
Congrats to Nellie for fighting hard to pass Åsa and taking silver and to Åsa for holding on to the bronze and also for taking the chance to push hard from the start!
A huge thank you to ÅBRO and CBC, we can now keep the same kit for next Swedish season!
In a break with Åsa
The podium together with Nellie and Åsa
Emil and I - 2 happy Swedish champs!