I left for a small tour last Thursday, the first stop was a meeting at Bikestore One in Söderhamn where we had a small product presentation of Right for bikes products followed with a short ride with some of the customers. It was a nice and rewarding evening. From there I went to Arlanda and slept a few hours and then met up with Craig early on Friday morning when he landed from South Africa. We went on to Vimmerby for a lunch at ÅBRO brewery. It is always fun to be there and see my sponsor, thank you Henrik for both lunch and the tour! Craig got to see the brewery for the first time and he was as impressed as I was the first time I saw it. We continued to Eksjö and on Saturday we rode parts of the Ränneslättsturens course.
On Sunday morning it was time for the fourth race in the Swedish Marathon series and the ladies had been given a separate start 70 minutes before the men. It was great and everyone seemed very happy with it! It was over 30 degrees warm so it would be very important to drink a lot and I had given more bottles to Craig for feeding than normal.
We soon became 4 girls, I, Sandra, Emmy and Nellie. The first loop went at an even pace and when we approached the first sprint price after 20 km I went to the front and pushed a bit extra up a small climb but I got a bad line and a bad corner down on the other side and thought the others were sitting on my wheel, I kept pushing to keep a high speed and hopefully keep the others behind me. With a few hundred meters left to the line I turned around and saw that I had a big gap, I was a little surprised and rode through the water point and tried to decide if I would ride on my own or wait, it felt very far with 57 km alone so I waited for the others. Somewhere on the single tracks on the second loop we lost Nellie and after the next water point when we entered the 10 km long "technical section" I went in first and did not really see when we lost Sandra. Now only Emmy and I were in the lead. After I had pulled for 10 km I thought it was her turn but she refused, we had 30 km left and I did not feel that I wanted to ride that far with her on my wheels. I decided that I was going to attack at the next sprint prize since I knew there was an uphill just after. Out on the open roads I got her to help and I could recover a bit. With 500 meters left to the sprint price at “Skidstugan”, I started my attack and got a gap directly and could first of all take home the sprint price and also get away. I went hard up the hill and when I came back to “Skidstugan” after the small loop of 1.4 km we did I was told that I had a 40 seconds lead. I rode hard but steady and a bit later I saw Ulf (Nellies husband) who said I had 1.10 to Emmy and a bit later I saw Sandra's husband who said I had 2.40. It was over 30 degrees hot and even though I enjoyed the heat, I started to feel it and decided to take it a little easier towards the end. In the end I could win by 4 minutes ahead of Emmy and it was nice to get a win in the bag ahead of next weekend's European XCM Championship. Nellie had caught up with Sandra and they sprinted about 3rd place, a sprint that Sandra took.
Our little tour continued after the race and we went to Stenungsund to visit Peter and Kattis (friends who we spend time with in South Africa) and stayed over at their place. It was good to see them in Sweden as well. We got in to the car again yesterday morning to drive to Kvam in Norway, the place where European XCM champs will be on Saturday. And here we are!
Before the start. Photo: cykelkanalen.se
Big ladies bunch. Photo: cykelkanalen.se
The 4 of us away. Photo: cykelkanalen.se
On the technical part. Photo: cykelkanalen.se
Finish :-) Photo: cykelkanalen.se
Interview after the finish. Photo: Craig
The podium! Photo: Craig