A little more than a week ago I came home to Sweden and was met by lovely spring weather! It was nice to be out cycling even though I had to dress a bit more than normal. It is always nice to come home and see family and friends again and it is always like Christmas when new stuff has arrived and waiting for me! The first thing I did was to pick up my Skoda Kodiaq from Bilmetro in Borlänge! A new bike from Silverback had arrived from Germany and I managed to put it all together in time to try it out for my first race Lidingöloppet. I have not been on a hard tail for almost 2 years so I was a bit unsure if I would race on it. What a bike!! It was love at the first ride!! I had received my new ÅBRO kit from Kalas which looked stunning! I feel very grateful and proud to do my 6th season in Sweden for ÅBRO!
I had a full week with a lot of work, training and fixing everything with the bike etc before the first race in Sweden and I felt a bit stressed. I was also a little nervous before the season opener at home. The nice spring weather disappeared just before the weekend and on Friday morning there was snow on the ground when we left for Stockholm. I did a short ride and checked parts of the course when we arrived and with 2 degrees on average during the ride I was properly frozen afterwards! We had a stand up with Right for bike selling the Squirt lube products and standing still in the cold was not the best.
On Saturday morning it was 2 degrees and I was mostly nervous that I would freeze too much and my energy and attention went to think about how much clothes to wear. In the end I wore double base layers, winter gloves, thick leg and arm warmers and headband! I have never raced with that much clothes before! Cycling is a summer sport! ;)
We girls had our own start at 12.09, 7 minutes after the men. There were an impressive bunch of girls in the racing category, more than 50! One of the biggest start fields I have seen in Sweden and it is great to see so many girls wanting to race and to see how the sport is growing! Unfortunately, there were 2 crashes already in the neutral start, one just in front of me and I just just missed it. Hanna hit the ground hard. Åsa, I and Emmy soon got away from the rest of the field and soon Hanna caught up, the 4 of us rode and worked well together until the famous railway crossing after 15 km, previous years there was a risk of getting stopped for the train to pass but I knew that they had cancelled the trains for the first riders to pass, so no danger there. There was a boom gate standing out in a very strange way and I saw it since I was first but Åsa was on my wheel and missed it, she hooked her handle bar and crashed so badly that she had to stop (she is ok now). The 3 of us carried on together. After about 25 km we rode straight in a junction with marshals but after a while when we did not see any more markers we started to wonder if we were wrong… Eventually we saw riders coming from the side. Emmy said we should jump on to the course, she said “since we are in the lead we can just carry on” Hanna and I said we must turn around and get on the course where we left it. I think we lost about 2 minutes on this. It was just very strange that the marshals did not tell us to turn or shout at us when we went wrong…. Anyway, we saw a girl and I asked which place she was in, 7th! Meaning that we had 3 girls in front. We soon got times and we were 55 seconds behind. I was calm since I knew we would catch them again, we still had to work hard to do so. As we caught the 3 girls from team She Rides who were working together, Hanna punctured. Emmy and I passed the team but soon after Emmy took a wrong turn, she saw it quickly and turned around. I was not sure if I should wait cause then She Rides would pass me, or if I should carry on. I kept going and think I had a gap of 15-20 seconds. But it was a long way still to go on my own and Emmy caught me again and we rode together the rest of the course. I was a bit sad that Emmy stopped racing with 6 km to go, it had been a good race so far and I thought it was a bit early to stop racing with that far still to go… she refused to go to the front and of course I could have played the same game but we would have still been out there and it was too cold for that. It was also too flat for me to get away, I wished for a few more hills. Within the last 500 meters there were 4 tight corners and it was important to be first in them and Emmy rode tactically right and passed me just before the corners, I tried on the last straight but it was not long enough for me to catch, so It was a very disappointing second place for me at this year's first race in Sweden.
Now I hope for warmer weather for Billingeracet next weekend!
Big ladies field on the start line!! Great to see!
Still happy on the podium
The podium with Jessica and Emmy
My new Silverback Superspeed SBC I recieved earlier this week
And the my new Skoda Kodiaq - the best car in the world! :-)