My very first world championship medal, that’s something special!.. I crossed the finishline cheering more than anybody else, so excited about grabbing a podium position
Before the race, I didn’t dare to say out loud, that I aimed for a podium spot. The starter’s list was a mixture of names, some of which I knew, some I didn’t. Mentally I tried to place myself between the names and saw the possibility of a great result. I have never raced a marathon in a field consisting of women only. I have only tried doing marathons in fields consisting of both men and women, and here the women’s race are totally decided by the men’s race. If you get away as the only female rider with a group of men, your chance for victory are so much bigger.
A lot about this race was totally new to me. Come to think about it, I often do very well in situations and races, that are new to me. I think, it gives me an extra dose of concentration.
107km is a pretty long time to race and my greatest concern was actually, whether I was able to keep concentration the whole time. I had no idea at all, how the race was going to form. Would people attack from the start, should I go with them, should I focus on keeping my own speed and how would my body and legs be on this exact day?
Soon I was to get the answer, as the gun went off at 9 o’clock. The speed wasn’t as high as in a normal xc race, and it soon got clear to me, that the favorits weren’t riding on their own to victory from here. I just stayed with the front and saw what happened. Due to the easy pace, I had a lot of energy thinking about the race. I caught myself thinking, that this wasn’t any harder than any normal training round in the woods. Just accompanied but a lot more girls than usual. I forced myself to let that thought go, judging, that it might not be the smartest way to assess the race.
The field consisted of a large group of riders until somewhere in the middle of the race. All the sudden Sabine Spitz had a flat tire, and while she was changing wheel with her teammate Anja Gradl, the speed was suddenly raised. Soon I realised, that a gap had formed, and now we were roughly 7 riders in the lead. The speed kept high and on the next steep climb a natural selection had cut away riders, so that now only 3 riders were forming the front group: Blaza Klemencic, Esther Süss and me. We soon agreed, that it would benefit to work together with still 40 or 30 km to go.
On a steep rooty climb Esther pulled away and I couldn’t keep her speed with 20 km to go. Blaza also had to let go and soon the group was torn apart. From here I just rode my own race, getting glimses of Esther in the front. With 10 km to go, I realized, that Sabine Spitz was coming up from behind! She soon caught up with me and stayed on my wheel for a while. With 5 km to go, she pulled away. I wasn’t able to follow her pace.
Not knowing how far behind the closest rider behind me was, I just focused on keeping as high and as steady speed as possible. I for sure started to feel, that the race had been going on for a while now. On the climbs, the first stitches of cramps started to attack my upper legs, but I knew, that I soon would reach the finish line. With 500 meters to go, I knew, that nobody would catch up with me from behind and the last 100 meters I was just cheering and it felt sooo good 🙂
I’m so excited, that the race went out the way it did! I have learned a lot and I think it confirms my position among the elite riders in the world.
This graph shows my heart rate during the race. You can clearly see, that the real race started after two hours.
Altitude profile: (nasty climbing especially in the last part of the race)
Thanks for all the greetings, it means the world 🙂
See you and enjoy blueberries..