The first race of the year always seems to come so quickly and sometimes I wish there was more time to train before we start racing. At the same time the Attakwas is a really tough and hard race, it is a great way of testing the form and see how the training is progressing. It is a proper challenge to get through the 120 kilometres with 2900 meters of climbing in tough terrain. It really is a shock to the system.
I was looking forward to the race and to get the year started especially since I am back racing for my favourite sponsor CBC!
For the first time the Attakwas had been awarded UCI status and we could race for UCI points. At a UCI race the ladies must have a separate start and according to the rules we are not allowed to slip any other rider than another lady. Previous years we have had a mass start ,all the categories together, but this year the UCI men started first and the UCI ladies one minute behind and a further 3 minutes behind us was the A bunch. We had good company on the start line with the cross country World Champion Annika Langvad so I knew that she, Ariane and Robyn would be the toughest competition and it would be hard to finish in the top 3.
The 4 of us were able to get away from the other girls even though it was not so fast from the start. I wanted the pace to be a bit higher and was maybe on the front a little too much between 10-20km and I think I paid for that later on. After about 25 km Annika attacked and Robyn and I went with but we lost Ariane. The 3 of us carried on together until the first feed (water point 2) at 46km. Unfortunately I felt a bit weak on the climb just after and lost contact with the other 2, I could almost get back on the next flat section but never gained contact. I tried to push hard but it was difficult. I could still see them for another 10 km and saw that Robyn dropped off from Annikas wheel, I was hoping I would see Robyn again but she rode incredibly well and I was far behind. I did what I could but got more and more tired and just counted down the kilometres, first to the second feed station (water point 4) and after that it was a countdown to the finish, the whole body was hurting and it was a big relief to get to the finish after 5 hours and 42 minutes! At that moment it was hard to think that in 2 months time when Epic starts I would have to do the same race the following day, and the day after, and the day after that etc…
I was really happy to hold on the the 3rd place amongst such strong riders.
The racing season is in full swing with the next race already on Saturday, I am looking forward to having my Epic team mate on the start line then!
...and we are off!
Downhill in the beginning :-)
Many long lonely kilometers in the Attakwas valley
Podium with Ariane (4th), me (3rd), Annika (1st), Robyn (2nd) and Amy Beth (5th)