This race has been on my bucket list for many years but there has always been clashing with something else, so this year I was finally able to do it! We left for our cottage on Tuesday and I was planning to do the race blind folded without seeing the course before but I started to be a bit nervous so we went to the race village (just over an hours drive) on Friday to ride the last half of the course and for me to see the finish, something which I always find very important in my preparation, one never knows if it comes down to a sprint!
Race day did not start well, I don’t like pre-race stress, but it always seems to happen. I heard a noise from the roof of the car, as if a screw fell off, and I was right! When we arrived, and I tried to pump my front wheel I saw that I had lost the ring which holds the valve in place so when I tried to pump the valve just disappeared in to the rim…. Luckily Tomas, who had parked next to us, had an extra in his toolbox… I started to warm up and heard the same weird noise from my bike as before Mörksuggejakten, I tried to grease the through axles since it had helped last weekend, but it still made the noise in the beginning of the race, just to annoy everyone around me.
The master start through town was easy and relaxed and as the let the bunch go and we hit the first tar climb Hanna and I immediately left all the other girls behind and stayed together. I felt good at first but she past me on a single track and she was fast downhill, I could feel a bit unsure since it was slippery and rocky, and I had no clue about what was coming since I had not seen this part of the course. She got small gaps but never more than 20-30 meters, so nothing to worry about. I felt tired and did not have the same power as last weekend, so when we hit the half way mark to start the 4-kilometre climb, I was sure she would leave me on that uphill, I still thought to my self that IF I could just stay with her to the top I could probably take it to a sprint! I sat in front in the beginning of the climb and thought “as long as she is on my wheel I am at least with her”, she then accelerated at one place and I had to dig deep to stay with her, but I managed. The same Tomas as gave me the thing for my valve had caught us and rode with us for a bit, he went to the front and we both followed. Hanna and I went side by side over the top of the climb and I started to realise that this would come down to a sprint. On a long sketchy downhill I thought it would be best to go first since I thought I could maybe go a bit faster than her, but she was planning the same and past me. I felt comfortable sitting behind since I knew she would not leave me there. We kept going like that on the single tracks and I started to feel my leg getting more and more sore and did not have power and was just hoping that it would hold for a sprint. When Tomas left us and none of us tried to go with him I realised that Hanna was as tired as I was. Hanna went first on the last long and technical downhill, I could easily stay with her even though she got that small gap of a few meters since it is difficult to be right on someone’s wheel on stuff like that. As we hit the bottom and only had 1-2 km to go I got back on her wheel and had to play the game and sat there. We had a bridge to pass, a small uphill, a 90 degree corner and then the finishing stretch. I went up side by side through the corner and saw that we had a young girl from a shorter race in the way and I got a bit worried that I had left it to late since the finish was very narrow, but I could pass and sprint to my first victory at Fjällturen! I was super happy that my leg held up for a sprint! But I must admit that I was sore after the race.
Interview before start
5km in to the race, away with Hanna. Photo: mtbfoto.se
Start of the long climb. Photo: Barbro Trum
Over the last bridge. Photo: mtbfoto.se
After the finish... Photo: Fjällturen