Straight from Geneva Airport to you! I’m on my way home to Copenhagen after having spend a week at Alpe d’Huez. Yes, the city of one of the most legendary climbs of the Tour de France, and I’ve ridden it myself many times. This time though, I didn’t do it even once, the reason being that the past week was holiday, a break from the structured training and racing schedule. Instead I’ve spend some time on my Enduro bike, riding downhill trails and shuttling back up by lift. My boyfriend plus friends have a yearly trip to this place because of the “Megavalanche,” the worlds largest mass-start downhill race. This year my boyfriend bought me an entry to the race too, which turned out to be a fun experience.
There was a separate women’s race consisting of qualification on friday and mainrace saturday. It was superfun to put a numberplate on a bike, that wasn’t my normal racebike and I went into the event with a very different mindset, riding under no expectations. But still I got caught by my “race-mind” around 30 sec. after the gun went off. Because of feeling good on the bike and constantly moving my way forward through the field, I was curious to see how close to the leading girls, I could get. Sadly that plan got spoiled only after 5 minutes, when I started to get the suspicion that I might had a flat reartyre. I choose to ignore it, since as we all know, if we ignore things, they disappear!.. Well, not quite, and 50m later my rearwheel was flat in a “this-can’t-be-ignored-anymore” way. Bummer!.. I had to stop and fix it and let the entire field go by. I made it to the finishline and luckily still made it to the main-race (due to the small size of the women’s field, all girls made it to the next day).
Race start at 9am. meant waking up at 5am to start the gondola journey at 6am. Thomas sympathised with me and went with me to the top of the mountain. The race started at 3300m altitude, and getting an entire field of racers plus bikes up in time took time. At least we got to enjoy a beautiful sun rising over the mountaintops. Sadly, between gondola 2 and 3 I found out that my rear suspension was broken. It didn’t hold air anymore. We gave it a few attempts pumping it, but it only lasted 10 seconds. Since it didn’t make any sense to race down the mountain for about an hour with a broken rear suspension, I cancelled my plans of racing. I must say, I was pretty disappointed. (this also reminded me, how important and privileged it is to have mechanics working on my bike every single day, when I am at races)
The break I had this week marks the halfway of my season. It’s necessary to give the body and not at least the mind a break to reload. Following this break, I will have two solid training weeks before leaving for the World Cups in Canada and USA. I look forward to put in some good training time and get into the “train-eat-sleep-repeat” routine. After a break, it always feels funny getting into the training rhythm again. Almost always it takes a few hard training days for my body to wake up before the arrival of the combined feeling of getting stronger day by day, while at the same time being tired from the training. I love that feeling. Nothing beats the calmness of being physically tired after a long or hard training. In the upcoming weeks, I know for sure, that I automatically will be following the Tour de France closely, since the tv-transmission will run parallel with my couch-time.
The main goals in the second half of my season will be the World Cups and XCO World Championships. Also, I will race the Leadville 100, a 100miles mtb race at 3000m altitude in Colorado. It’s going to be quite an experience too. In the States, this race is quite big and wellknown, so I look forward to give it a go and see if I can break the course record. This year luckily, I’ve spend more time at altitude than normally, so hopefully my body will cope with the Colorado altitude better. We will see. I feel lucky to have the experience of Christoph Sauser at my hand. He has done the race many times and knows what to pay attention to. Oh, yes, btw he just ended his career as a pro and continues as perfomance manager within our team. The World Cup in Lenzerheide was his first time with his new job title and it was super cool to have him around training with us, giving feedback and advices.
Planning a race season is always a challenge. The Leadville race will be at the weekend right between the World Cups in Canada / USA and Italy. The challenge will be the recovery, altitude change and fighting jetlag. I might not be super fresh for the Italian World Cup, but on the other hand the Leadville race will prepare me even better for the XCO World Championships at altitude in Andorra.