We took the camper to Stockholm on Friday afternoon to set up our stand for Saturday and Sunday’s races. It was Lida Loop, the 3rd leg of the Swedish XCM serie. I was at the stand until 2pm on Saturday and only started my ride then. I got Ulf as company and luckily he had a map with him since the route was not fully marked. We planned to do 2 of the 3 loops but since we had only done 2h15min after 2 loops we decided to do the full race route. I must admit that I was a bit tired after we finished around 5.30pm.
The next morning I had an appointment with the Swedish television, it is extremely rare that they come out to a marathon race, I don’t know if that has ever happened before to be honest! I think we can thank Jenny’s Olympic gold for the elevated media interest for mountainbiking!
It was a big ladies field and for the first time they tried a new format for our race, we started 8 minutes behind all the racing men (elite, vets, sub vets etc). I was a bit nervous since my legs felt sluggish and I was not mentally really focused, it had been a bit much with the stand and TV etc for me to focus 100%. Felicia set a high pace up the short but steep ski slope from the start and then the speed continued to be high, it took a while before we were 5 girls that got away from the big bunch and somewhere on the first loop we lost one. I went to the front as we approached the last really rocky single track on the first loop to make sure to be first on to the stadium where the first sprint prize was, I managed to follow my plan and had a 7 seconds gap at the line. As we started the second loop I could feel how my legs were burning so it was not time to go solo just yet. We lost Felicia and Nellie somewhere on the second loop, it was very difficult to pass all the men that we caught and it took a lot of energy. Sometimes we were crawling on the single tracks since it was just impossible to pass. I was together with Åsa for loop 2 and as we got close to the stadium again I made sure to be in front up the last steep single track to the ski slope. I knew that if I was first at the top I would take the second sprint prize, this plan also worked well. I had 2 seconds at the line this time and I could hear that Åsa was getting tired. So on the first technical single track on the third and last loop I pushed everything I had and I got the gap I needed to get away to ride the last loop on my own. With about 250 meters to go I could see Åsa down a hill and we waved at each others, she was not far behind. I only won by 47 seconds this time but am very happy with that considering how I felt at the start.
A huge thank you goes to the organizers who tried something new to make our race fair and square, but unfortunately this format did not work out. Ulf did the calculation that I had passed 164 men out there, a bit too much.
We picked up Craig at the airport on the way home after the race, it will be nice to have him here and get all the help I need with the bike and to get the best massages again in preparation for World Champs in less than 2 weeks time.
Even if it is all in Swedish you can see the TV interview here.
At the start. Photo: Henrik Öijer
On the way to the first sprint. Photo: Eva Önnemar mtbfoto.se
Coming down the ski slope after loop 2. Photo: Eva Önnemar mtbfoto.se
Waving at Åsa just before the finish ;) Photo: Eva Önnemar mtbfoto.se
The podium with Åsa, me, Nellie, Felicia and Camilla
My dad at the Squirt lube stand