Standing on the start line for the first world cup of the year is never really a super comfortable situation. The tension is in the air and it feels like standing in a fog filled with nerves and fast heart beats. I knew my shape was good and I had a good feeling going into this race weekend. Around me was 55 other girls who had been working hard all winter to be as fast as possible for these races. So with 1 minute to go, I took a last really deep breath, swallowed my gel, gave our Team manager, Tom, a high five, and ready - steady - go!
My start was brilliant for me, sitting in 3rd position as we came around the start/finish area to begin lap no 1. On lap no 1 Kate (USA) and Evie (GB), quick disappears out of sight and shows a class above the rest of us. I was sitting in a group of 4 together with Sina Frei, Worst & Gerault, pushing super hard and fighting our lungs out for every meter (it literally feels like that, it’s so damn hard). I enter lap 2 in 5th position, still together with the 3 others. As we keep on going, the position fight is crazy, overtaking, a few mistakes and so on makes it chaotic and I’m having a hard time finding my own rhythm. I’m in my own little bubble, trying to hold on to everything I know, trying to get the control over my breathing. From behind 2 other riders makes their way up, and we’re now in a group of 6 (as far as I could count), fighting for the spots between 3rd and 8th. In the end of lap 3 Sina makes a breakaway, and on the last lap Worst, Lena and Martina takes the front of the group. On the finish line, I sprinted my way to the 7th spot against the American girl Haley batten. (First time ever I win a sprint finish, oh!). Satisfied with my effort, but still thoughtful of what I could have done to take that 3rd spot home. In the end, I had 20 seconds to top 5 and 1 minute to 3rd. When racing with so many strong riders, it’s the smallest details that make the different in a race like yesterday, it’s luck, mistakes, mentality, how the course suit us, the start, and so on. All of it puts together the number on the result list. I suffered so much out there tough, sometimes a little too much, I felt, hoping for better days to come, where the fun factor is bigger than the suffering (you know what I mean..).
But the number on a result list is hard to handle for me. I mean it's something I can’t control. I did my very best yesterday, with all that I had that day - it might not look so amazing on the paper, but it was actually a pretty good day, with a lot I can take with me to Albstadt. Because what is the good race recipe? For me, it’s not the same every time. When every World Cup rider out there are training so hard and so much - can a one day result decide if that was a good recipe or not? In my race, I did almost everything as I wanted to. If I could change something, I wish I had been strong enough to keep the little gap I had after the start loop and keep on pushing for that, so I could have had a more ‘easy’ race on my own. But I didn’t - and that is something to improve, to the recipe. Luckily my physical abilities only go one way, so I believe that hard work pays off, and doing it my way is the best for me. Albstadt is only in one week time, and I’m so excited to see what I’m capable of doing there. Maybe I can have a good fight again, feel a little better, or maybe have a different number on the result list - who knows? I think sometimes results are such a cruel part of racing. If a rider delivers a worse result on the paper compared to what they have done previously, the search for reasons is on, maybe a bad day, crashes, stomach problems, and so on - or maybe the others were just stronger? But I guess that is what makes us athletes, that we’re always looking for improvements and are critical to our own performance. And if we don’t find ourself among the riders we’re used to - something must be wrong.
Okay now I’m just writing down unfinished thoughts down. What I really wanted to find was that recipe. But before I can try again next weekend I need to go home. Flying home to Copenhagen tonight, having an exam this Wednesday, and then off to Albstadt again on Thursday - to continue this World Cup journey.
All the best
Photos from Ego-promotion: