We drove back up through Germany after the World Champs and took the ferry to Sweden overnight. We made the first stop in Hässleholm to visit my friends Malin and Pär, it was so nice to see them and the visit was too short! I am hoping to see them in South Africa later this year. We made a stop at Vallåsen Bike park to try some of their downhill trails, something I have been wanting to do for a long time!
Vallåsen bike park
After the ride the Kodiaq took us to Vimmerby. After checking in to Fredensborgs Herrgård Craig started to feel sick and went to bed. He stayed in bed until it was time to check out a few days later…. He had a fever and sore throat and I was very scared I would also get it from him. My parents and niece also came to Vimmerby to keep me company for a few days. We did a guided tour at ÅBRO, my sponsor, and even if I have done it before I just love walking around the brewery. There is amazing history behind that company and when you are there you can sense the passion and proudness from the staff. I am as proud as them to represent such a great company and brand! I also got to be a child again when we spent a day at Astrid Lindgrens world, it was fun to see the stories and movies by Astrid Lindgren we read as children.
I went to Eksjö one day to ride the route for the race Ränneslättsturen together with some guys from the local club. It was a great route with some A and B lines, which we never have at a marathon race, it was good to see it beforehand and I was looking forward to the race. We moved to Eksjö “The wooden town” the day before the race, we got to see it a little while waiting for the hotel to make a new reservation for us since our booking accidently had gotten cancelled. Poor Craig only wanted a bed to lay down again.
Ränneslättsturen was a really nice, fast and fun course and well-organized race! It was the first time I did that race and I was happy to finally have done it! We started with the men this time and since the first 21 km was on flat gravel roads I knew it would be a fast start and a fight for positions. I backed off a bit not to get in to any trouble in the big bunches. It eventually settled down and I ended up in bunch where I could sit comfortably. I had really good legs this day and I challenged myself by trying to stay in that bunch to the finish. I think someone might have gotten away and some riders dropped. Normally the men are very friendly in the bunch but this time I got a very nasty comment when I tried to pass a slower rider on a single track, I really wanted to stay with the guys but this one guy was slow and held us up. When it was my turn to pass him I said “passing left” and the reply I got was “I will anyway pass you later on”, guess that gave me motivation!? ;) I got away but he caught us later when a fun rider was holding us up. We rode together for a long time and with 10 km to go 2 guys went to the front and I went with and when I turned around we did not have anyone else with us, so I finished a few minutes ahead of the rider who said he would pass me;) I won the ladies race by 17 minutes and sat the new course record! I was only 17 minutes behind the men elite winner after 3 hours of racing, I don’t think that I have been that close (without knowing facts) after such a long race!
We left for Västervik after the race. We visited Henrik and Marie at their summer house in the archipelago. It was really beautiful and so relaxing, I could have stayed there much longer. We had one full day there and Henrik took us out on a boat tour with lunch on one of the islands, we really enjoyed it and luckily Craig was feeling a little better and could join.
On Tuesday morning we left for home, just with a stop in Motala where I rode the route for the upcoming Swedish Marathon champs which takes place in August. A beautiful route and we had a nice coffee at “Farfarsstugan” I Överlid. I must say that it was really nice to get home that evening after almost 3 weeks of travelling.
The day after, on Wednesday morning, I started to feel sick. It was almost unavoidable for me not to get sick since we were so close while travelling and Craig was really sick. I did not train for 3 days and felt a little better on Saturday. We went to Rättvik where the race would be on Sunday and I did a session and felt good. I collected my number and decided to race. But I started to feel worse again in the evening and when I woke up on Sunday morning I had to make the difficult decision not to race. I don’t like cancelling races but sometimes it is more important to look at the bigger picture and be clever. I need to be 100% healthy on Thursday when we leave again for Transalps which starts on Sunday. I am very much looking forward to racing there together with Epic partner Esther Süss!!