A fresh bubble bath, a cosy playlist and letting the thoughts fly is the best way for me to cool down after a race. Especially after race like this season’s second round of the World Cup in Albstadt, it was hot. Badrr hot. Like the heat when you step into a car after a few hours in the sun. I’m still cooling down. In the body as well as the mind, it has been two weeks of hard work, 2 World Cups and an exam, back and forth; Denmark - Czech - Germany - Denmark - Germany - Denmark.
Back to the beginning of this week, I left The Ghost Team Monday evening after a visit with our team from Adidas. They provide us with our clothing, both casual, outdoor and cycling apparel. Super cool to visit the Adidas HQ and meet the team behind.
To give me a warm welcome home life gave me a 5 hours exam in a sweating gym hall together with 100 other students, typing and reading the best we learned. Directly after I went for few hours on the bike. Didn't really take my mind with me out for riding that afternoon, just my legs spinning around. Thursday ‘morning’ the alarm went off at 4.45 — off to Albstadt. A few flights and delays later I was in Albstadt, where the World Cup was held. Fortunately, my boyfriend, Loic, was the one to pick me up at Stuttgart airport, which made my day way better. Friday I learned my lines and tried to get into race mode. Getting into race mode is important for me, so Saturday I went to the track ones again, I tried to go a little faster and imagine my race. Andy filming, Loic trying to make me gab rock gardens (no problem malle mmm..), and Sebi giving notes - what a team I have around me.
My race didn’t go exactly as I imagined. Luckily I have an imagination who always sees the bad ass women inside of me and never giving me negative ideas, so I was on the start line feeling strong, happy and with a deep believe in myself :-) I was already sweating a bit so Uwe took a cold towel around me to cool me down before race start. My race is a little blurry for me now, I now I was digging as deep as possible and I was completely empty crossing the finish line. But it was a tough day for me, a few crashes in bad moments (okay is there good moments for a crash..? maybe not, but still) took my focus a little, but I fought through it. And I was proud of myself after the race. Plus I kept my body temperature down and stayed hydrated in the heat, better than I have done before. And as this race not will be the last hot race this season, I’m happy to find a good way. Thanks to my team for making it possible with all the effort and planning it takes.
I’m leaving the two first World Cups with a few mixed feelings. Results and body shape is not exactly as I hoped it would be at this time of the year, but not bad. I know where I am right now, and I can take the information with me home and work on it. At least I have things to improve :-) And the two races was a solid performance, both Sunday’s I raced with everything I had in me, and never gave up.
So I will take a bubble bath more. This time in pink soap. Process it, make plans, letting the pink bubbles restart my system and let my positive mind dig the bad ass women out again. So I can tighten the shoes again tomorrow and go for another training.
Pssst! Swipe in the pictures below!
Race report #4 A race recipe?
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:
Guten Morgen, hast du auch hunger & und-los! Is the 3 most used 'words' from this weekend in Heubach together with The Ghost family, a little bit reduced, but almost there. Looking so much forward to the world cup circuit starts, and the whole team will be travelling around together.
Guten Morgen - and wakey wakey Malene. Flight at 06:45 from Copenhagen - Berlin - Nürnberg, picked up by Uwe and Terpstra. We had a 2-hour drive in front of us, but they went by quick, catching up on the last weeks being apart. We went out for lunch, lucky my teamis all speak fluent german so I can be like “what is this? - wait no what is this ‘spätzle’?” ..Something like pasta - but not? (btw who would ever try to beat pasta - you already lost before starting hah). Afterwards, Uwe and I drove to the race venue and I did a few laps, trying tire pressure, lines and so on. Good session. Home for dinner and massage. Passed out early and got 9 hours sleep, sharing room with Anne, so even had a good little chat before sleeping.
Hast du auch hunger? - breakfast on pre-race day is a hungry morning fueling up before tomorrow’s big day. Good morning, talking about Neil Armstrong, the weather, and how many euros you need to spend to get the Black card. (Yea, you have to hurry to follow us ;-)). My program of the day was easy. Breakfast - ride to the venue - 1 hot lap - bike check - recovery - massage - talking about hunger - dinner - sleeping.
Felt a bit tired on the hot lap, but I had the feeling that I needed to wake my body, even if it didn’t felt amazing. But anyway - the good feeling is needed for Sunday and not Saturday. Still hungry? A little, but more for racing now.
Und los Malene - race day. Woke up for breakfast at 8, chill morning, making my bottles ready, a little yoga ses and making race clothing ready. Energy was in the pocket - and today I would actually use it. 3 gels and a cola on the last lap should do it :-)
I have struggled a bit this early season (more or less, to get my shit together..grr). But last weekend I saw myself pushing super hard, and I started to feel the rewards from the many hours spent on the bike. So standing on the start line in Heubach was with a feeling of confidence and excitement, but also eager to have a race where everything works out for me, to fill up the confidence before the World Cups starts.
Up the climb, the first time went really well and on the top, I was sitting with Alexandra Keller in 5th/6th position. For your information; Heubach is one climb up and (no kidding) one downhill. Everything seemed super good, and I felt comfortable yet riding on the limit all the way. But that is what it takes, in this kind of races, there are so many strong riders, you cannot have a chilled moment, it’s just push push push. On the 3rd lap, Keller pushed super hard on the top of the climb and I had to let her go, I couldn’t reply to that. Anyhow I kept my pace and focused. On the 4th lap, I had to let Adelheid and Tauber pass me on the climb. Not sure if I was slower or they simply pushed harder. But I kept my speed and my position and crossed the finish line in 8th satisfied with today’s effort. It felt right. Hope I can keep this momentum towards the next big races coming up!
Next race will be the World Cup, so I have a few weeks home to find the last small details - and give you guys a little break from my race stories haha. puh lucky huh
I just got a whole lot more hungry
All the best
A few pics:
Reflect what you desire, become what you respect