Flat tires in Varde seems to be a Law of Nature for me. I love the course in the gravel pit of Varde, since it’s damn good training for practicing cornering. But both last year and this year I also got to practice the art of fixing flat tires
I spend the weekend in Varde with my boyfriend, staying at a lovely Bed&Breakfast, where also danish team T-bikes choose to spend the week, bringing some good company. My week included solid training, so the race in Varde for me was topping up the week. It’s always more easy to push the pace in a race than in training.
When we arrived at the race venue on sunday morning, I was greeted by a Dutch man, who looked completely confused, that I was racing in Denmark instead of being at the European Championships in Moscow. I understand his confusion. There are more reasons for me not being in Moscow. First of all the Danish Cycling Federation has closed down almost everything regarding a Danish National Team for the Elite riders. So if I had to go, it would be more or less alone. Second of all, now is the time, where I’m actually able to train without being interrupted by a lot af travelling or races. It’s perfect for the upcoming World Cup races in Canada and USA.
Well, now to the race itself!
The start of the race was somewhat different than usual. Normally at the countdown, the last warning is “15 seconds”, which means that at any time within the next 15 seconds the gun will go off. Here the “gun” was a voice saying ” and you may start”. None of us really understod, that it was the startsignal, so it wasn’t really an adrenaline kicking start, but more a rolling start. Rikke even had the energy to yell ” what just happened there?!”.. Anyway, off we went and into the adventurous track.
The women had to do 5 laps. The course is less physically demanding, but when it comes to concentration it’s quite demanding. The course is constantly twisting and winding it’s way through the sourroundings. The climbs are short and steep and calls for acceleration all the time. I liked, that I then got to test my 29’er under these kind of conditions too.
As I rode my way though the race, all the sudden I got hit by a puncture on my rearwheel!.. Oh no!.. I continued riding, but looked down to realize, that the lock was too big for the fluid sealant to stop the air from fizzling out! I had to stop. My first reaction was simply to fill the tire with my CO2 cartridge. But luckily my brain put in an advice note before just acting, saying: “this won’t do any good. The tire will flat just as quickly!..” Only having 1 cartridge and no pump, ment only having 1 shot for fixing my flat. I had an inner tube by, so it put it in my tire, and with shaking hands managed to blow the entire cartridge into the tire leaving me with a perfectly fixed rearwheel ready for continuing. As unbelievable as it may sound, this was actually the first time for me in a race using a CO2 cartridge. I praised my boyfrind for his lastminute handing me his cartridge before my start “just in case” 😉
And THEN the real race started! As I had fixed my wheel, 4 – 5 girls had gone by, and with only 1,5 laps to go, it would take some effort to chase back the victory. I rode with my heart hammering away, and lots of “allout efforts” on the climbs! As I went through the feedzone, my boyfriend yelled “48 seconds to the leading girl! You can do it!”
This was real motivation and really exciting! Now I rode on the balanceline between riding flawlessly, while physically being on the limit. In this situation a 29 inch bike is a great advantage, since it soaks up all the small steering mistakes. I soon felt, that I was gaining time and a few kilometres before the finishline, I caught the front and could happily cross the finishline as winner. That was pure excitement, and it brings back memories from last year’s Danish Championships, where a broken chain also left me in the hunting game.
I want to thank Helle for good sportsmanship actually offering me her pump, while passing me! That wouldn’t be the case in a Worldcup 😉
In a week, I’ll be leaving for the worldcup in Canada and a week later USA. My tactics for the race in Canada will also be the hunting game, since my start position at the moment is further back in the field than ever. In a way I like it. My motivation for crawling towards the front again is huge 🙂
Take care and see you