The adventure of racing the Time Trial World Championship
It all started with a dislocated thumb a month ago in South Africa at the XCO Worlds. It was really unlucky, since I felt well prepared for having a great race, but then again – when has an injury ever had perfect timing?
My eager to race was really high after returning to Denmark, so racing the TT in Italy went from being a secondary goal to a primary goal, since the thumb allowed me to ride on the road. I had three weeks time and decided to get the best out of switching the fat tires and suspension bike for skinny tires and “all-about-aerodynamics”. The training went well besides having a week of feeling really tired, but I knew (after discussing that with my boyfriend and also with my coach) that just meant time for rest. After a few days on arrival in Italy, I felt recovery started kicking in and the power and freshness returning.
Since this was my first international time trial, I was seeded low and started in 15th position. My tactic was to go out hard, since the course had longer stretches without corners at the beginning and a lot of corners towards the end, where you automatically would get a little more rest. While being out on the course, the time flew by so quickly. What looked like tricky corners and bumpy cobblestones at the previous rather chaotic attempts to check out the course all the sudden was a super fast racetrack. I remember registering, that my mouth was completely dry like a desert already after a few minutes and I got pretty surprised since I’ve never experienced that before. I guess the high speed compared with the warm temperatures and my tendency to ride mouth open when going hard, made that situation inevitable. Crossing the finish line was really a relief for my body.
I had done the so far absolutely best time, which lasted until the last top 5-10 riders. I got beaten by only 5 riders, which is pretty impressive. Only 12 seconds from the bronze medal. I’m sure, that if I specify a just a little more in this discipline, I’ll soon take medals here as well. So the big question then is: Is that what I want? My answer is: I don’t know.
At the moment, my gut feeling doesn’t tell me to switch focus and go for Time Trial medals at the world championships and Olympic games. Naturally I’ve been asked a lot of questions regarding my future plans for racing my bike (especially which bike, and what distance). Right now I feel, I’m in the middle of a process of becoming one of the worlds best cross country riders on the Olympic distance (the shorter distance compared to the Marathon distance, where I hold two World Champion gold medals). I know it will be a big challenge, but the bigger the challenge, the more goose bumps on reaching your goal.
I had a great time in Italy as well as an super experience at the race. I’ve been reflecting a bit about what happened and my conclusion is, that besides racing I also get a kick from being an underdog. It’s always easier to make a good result the first time you do something new. What is a greater challenge, is to do it just as good or better the next time, since pressure is on. I’m convinced, that every world champion knows what the “pressure of the stripes” means. Those races, where you ride with your mind clear and you act only according to intuition and instincts are incomparable to anything in this world. Chasing those races is what keeps me going.