The Bundesliga Final in Bad Salzdetfurth wrapped up the series for 2012. The last XCO race of my season, before the very last big race: the marathon world championships in Ornans (France) the 7th of October.
The race in Bad Salzdetfurth was not only the last XCO Race of my season, but also the last race of 4 weeks of consecutive racing. I’ve been taking one race at a time and used the races for building up towards a strong season finish after being sidelined with rib injuries just before the Olympic Games. Returning to racing was tough, both physically and mentally, but my boyfriend has really been supportive in helping me seeing things in a greater picture. With the greater picture in mind, this last month of getting back to racing has been great!
I arrived in Bad Salzdetfurth on saturday and was welcomed with great atmosphere, smiling people and a setting sun. As with most bundesliga races, sprint races are taking place the day before the “real” race on sunday. The sprint races are intensive, fun and very spectacular for both riders and the crowd watching. The track is short with lots of cornering and small obstacles. First you do a time trial race; 1 lap full speed ( 1 – 2 minutes ), which then decide whether or not you qualify for further elimination races.
I raced my one lap, which just sent me on to the elimination races. In the elimination, 6 girls are racing each other at the same time, so you really have to be clever, strong quickly reacting and skilled to win.
I had a great time doing the elimination races, and eventually made it to the finals, where I managed to finish fifth in a very strong field including newly crowned world champion in this discipline, Alexandra Engen.
Doing the sprint races the day before the XCO race can be both good and bad. On the upside it kind of turns your legs on, but on the downside there’s a risk to accumulate a lot of lactate, which gives you heavy legs the day after. But anyways it’s great fun and good training.
On sunday it was time for the XCO race. I did not know what to expect from the race regarding result. A lot of strong girls still carrying great form were on the start line. My strategy was clear and simple though; stay with the front and see what happens. So I did!..
From the start, I was feeling great on the looong climb, managing to move into the front of the field. On the descent, I stayed in my position. On the very last descending, my wheels slipped almost making me spin 180 degrees. A gap opened to the leading girls, and now I was on the chase. The next lap, I moved forward on the climb again and had visual contact with the front. I dug deep, rode on my limit and moved ahead. Slowly though, I was paying off from the hard efforts and had to let go a little to find a good rythm. As I did, things went better and on the last few laps, I was absolutely giving all I had left in my legs, passing the girl in front of me and could cross the finish line in sixth position. That was great!
The race was a great finish of the XCO season! Now I have a little time to prepare for the marathon world championships, which I look forward to!..