Road season 2018 is a wrap

CC Hillerød

On Wednesday evening I took my bike with the train to Jutland to visit my dad. I had two easy days on the bike and a race on Saturday, before going back home for Sunday’s race on Zealandia. It was great just to relax and ride around without heavy traffic and even enjoy a bit of hills. I did a 1-minute hill interval just for the fun of it and did a new PB! I never get tired of improvements 😉

Horsens Amateur Cycling Club

On race day, Saturday, it was raining before the start and it was freaking cold with an unpleasant breeze. Waiting for the gun to go off I was joking about getting a puncture with 10 kilometers to the finish being the worst thing that could happen. Don’t ever make jokes like that! After only 13 kilometers I had a flat and guess what? I had 10 kilometers to the finish. Doh! To my luck I passed a helper when he was about to switch with another, so I could go with him in his car. Thankfully!!

Horsens AC
Photo: mbaek.dk

It’s the flattest feeling when you prepare all day (and even the day before) to race and then have to abandon after 20-25 minutes. But the weather was bad, and I was not in the mood for a recovery spin, so I just changed my tube and watched the others racing. I had to wait for the Swedes to finish because they were giving me a ride back home.

Horsens AC
Photo: mbaek.dk

At home I needed to comfort myself, so I ate a whole bucket of Ben & Jerry’s by myself for dinner. Not a proper meal before a race but at this point I didn’t really care. Only one more race and then it was off-season.

Cycle Club Hillerød

Sunday, I didn’t feel good. Not because of the ice cream last night – haha – but like I haven’t been feeling good for the last couple of weeks. I felt tired and without energy and I was not looking forward to 106 kilometers with strong crosswinds and too many hills.

It only took about half a lap of 21 kilometers for all the women to separate from the men. The hills, the wind and the pace were too much for us girls and I ended up being in a group with five women and three men.

CC Hillerød
Photo: Claus Ljungdahl

I was hurting a lot from the beginning! On every hill and every open, windy section my legs screamed at me. I thought about quitting so many times, only because everything in my body was hurting. But the winner was to be found in my group, so I decided to just get through one lap at a time.

My mind was switching between thinking of how to do the sprint in crosswind and just being happy to finish with the group. I don’t think I have ever been so uncomfortable on the bike regarding to the feeling in my body.

With about five kilometers to the finish we were all still together in the group and I was in second position behind a fast guy. I was hoping that he would keep the pace high and stay in front the rest of the race. He did!

CC Hillerød
Last podium of 2018

On the last 1000 meters he gave me a thumb up and then I knew he was going to do a lead-out, so I got ready sticking close to his wheel. He started sprinting with a couple of hundreds of meters to go and I could pass him to take my second win in the Women’s Elite class this year. An awesome way to finish off my season after several podiums and bad luck.

I decided to ride home after the race and ended up doing 166 kilometers in total. I was toast the rest of the day!

The end of another season

I was supposed to race next weekend also, but my body is tired, and I think it’s better for me to give it a break now. Instead, I’m all in on strength training, maybe doing some yoga and eating whatever I feel like (like I always do 😉 ). I also want to practice on the velodrome this winter, so I will use some time feeling comfortable on it again after my crash two years ago.

DM Omnium 2016
My last race on the track was in 2016.

But, to sum up this season I have development tremendous on every level. My physical fitness is better, but more important is my mental fitness improvement. And no crash or injuries this season! Except for a bruised rib, but it didn’t prevent me from riding.

Last year I struggled with being in the peloton, with cornering and with believing in myself. This year I have no problem with the peloton and my cornering is pretty good. The only thing that can still be a challenge is the positioning when things get hectic or technical. I will solve that puzzle also 😉

I can look back on two wins and five podiums in the Danish races. I am the overall winner of Tour of Reykjavik 2018. I have raced my first UCI race with Tour of Uppsala (UCI 2.2) and done my first Kermesse races (1.15) in Belgium. I am also double Club Champion (time trial and road race) in 2018 and even though these are not big achievements, I still need to remind myself how far I have come and that small successes are also successes and allowed to be happy about. Even my win in my first Zwift race I’m happy about 🙂

CC Hillerød
Photo: Claus Ljungdahl

I look forward to what the 2019 season will bring, and to work with a new coach. I have been with Power Perfection for the last two years and Magnus has helped me a lot and made me a lot stronger. But sometimes you just need to ‘shake the bag’ (as we say in Danish) and try something new, get a new focus and try other things, so you don’t get lazy or too convenient 🙂

Thanks to Team Integra Advokater – Giant for a great year, and to our sponsors for making it happen 😀

Integra Advokater
VUF Frederiksberg
Gaia Sport Danmark
Ama’r Cykelservice
A.P. Køleservice
XTREME Team Wear
ConWx
Touch Grafisk
Bak Optics
Giant Bicycles
ncm project
Richardt & Mejer Watches
WOW Cyclothon
Verisure
Amager Cykle Ring
Frederiksberg Bane- og Landevejsklub

A month of racing

Vitamin Well Frederiksbergløbet

Since I raced in Sweden, after the Summer break, it has almost been a month until my next race due to cancelled races and weddings to attend. The races in Sweden didn’t go super well, but you can read about it yourself here. In this blog post I will tell you about the last month of races I have done, having only two weeks left of the season. Time flies!

Vitamin Well Frederiksberg crit

I started with a crit race the day after a wedding, so I was not at all feeling strong at all – and I was very tired because I didn’t sleep much. It was a strange race because we were put together with Men 60 and Women B, which is a very unusual combination.

Vitamin Well Frederiksbergløbet
Photo: Jesper Skovbølle

On the first lap I sat talking with one of the men in the middle of the group when we hit the famous hill “Valby Bakke”, short but steep. Four girls went away, and I thought “God damn it, already?!” but I had to try to go with them, so I put in a strong effort and managed to close the gap not taking the peloton with me. Then I thought “damn it, now it is going to be a tough day” – haha. Luckily it was only 50 minutes of racing, but it was 50 minutes full gas and nothing less than nine times up the hill.’

Vitamin Well Frederiksbergløbet
Photo: Jesper Skovbølle

On the last lap I went in front and fast up the hill to make sure no one could attack. I was confident in my sprint, so I wanted us to stay together. We were down to four in the breakaway with two from the same team. I was in third position on the finish and thought it was perfect. I thought the leading rider would pull out because she led us more than half a lap and had a team mate behind me, but she didn’t and when number two started her sprint I followed to get a lead out. Unfortunately, she stayed side by side with the other rider, so I couldn’t pass and had to go around the other way when it was too late, so I had to settle with second. A bit frustrating being less than half a wheel from victory.

Vitamin Well Frederiksbergløbet
Photo: Jesper Skovbølle
HFCK road race

In this race it was time to join the Men C again. I was a bit nervous because I haven’t been able to stay with the group this year. But I had nothing to worry about. Yes, it was damn hard at times, and I had my moments of crisis. I tried to stay in front, but I went up and down all the time.

HFCKs åbne landevejsløb
Photo: Tommy Kjærulff Eriksen

On the final lap I had some help from a guy from my local club. He brought me to the front and did a lead-out for me. Unfortunately, he pulled out too soon and when the other guys started sprinting they boxed me in and I came in second, again. The good thing about racing with the men is the speed and bigger peloton. The bad thing is the sprint.

HFCKs åbne landevejsløb

CK Fix crit

I was hoping that third time was a charm doing another crit, women only, but being up against five riders from the same team out of nine (Women A) it wasn’t easy. I tried to close all their attacks, but in the end one rider went on a solo breakaway. Then I, together with a Swedish girl, could use the rest of the race leading the chasing group consisting of her three team mates. Boring!

CK Fix gadeløb
Photo: Claus Ljungdahl

With only four laps to go I had a puncture and I didn’t bring a spare wheel, so I was rolling to the finish. I saw one of my male team mates and asked for his wheel, since we were allowed one lap of respites. I just managed to change the wheel before my group was back and I could rejoin them.

CK Fix gadeløb
Photo: Claus Ljungdahl

I made a stupid decision on the last lap that forced me to take the front on the final meters with headwind, so I only sprinted to 4th or 5th place. But it didn’t matter because I was disqualified for not changing my wheel on the correct spot. My first DSQ ever, woops.

Slaget vid Lund road race

Next up was the last race in Sweden this year. It was early morning and very cold. My motivation was not the highest and we had to race with Men D and Men 50 which is also a very unusual combination.

It had been raining so the roads were a bit wet and I didn’t know the course on beforehand. Suddenly I felt like a did a lot last year, anxious and insecure in cornering on wet roads. Combined with a strong sidewind I quickly had to close a giant gap and after that I was game over. My legs were hurting and my mind even more.

I decided to go a few laps on my own, but then DNF to save energy for the race next day. Very disappointed in myself, but my mind is my biggest challenge and I can still have an off-day. Everyone can. Today was just one of these days where both mind and body wouldn’t work my way.

Mogens Lind VVS road race

The next day was a race on home ground and a very familiar course. Back with the Men C and only a light breeze on a flat lap made it a fast day. I wasn’t really in the mood for racing and a bit nervous to do another DNF, but still I wanted to win badly. Mixed emotions much?

Mogens Lind VVS Løbet
Photo: Jesper Skovbølle

Well, it was easy to sit in the peloton most of the time and despite of a lot of attacks no one got away for real. I felt tired in the beginning but made sure to stay in the front the whole time. A good decision because a crash split the group early on. At the end I felt better, and I even tried to follow a breakaway – without luck though.

Mogens Lind VVS Løbet
Photo: Jesper Skovbølle

On the last lap I made sure to stay in top 10 but with everyone making it home together it was a chaotic bunch sprint with men and women together and tailwind on the long finish. I followed the stream and tried to find a good wheel. But I made a bad choice because just before the line (going 63 km/h) my wheel stopped pedaling and I came in second – again! God damn it! I was very angry afterwards, but I was also happy that yesterday’s mental breakdown was gone, and I felt good in the peloton again.

Mogens Lind VVS Løbet
The sprint – can you spot me? Photo: Jesper Skovbølle

Rikke’s Belgium Tour 2018

Belgium Kermesse

After the Summer break, a lot of Danish races has been cancelled, so I decided to go Belgium on my own for racing and get experience with the bigger peloton (women only!) and the higher speed. Here is how it went 🙂

Huesden

My first race in Belgium was an experience. I had only been sleeping around five hours, and travelling for seven hours, when reaching the town for the race three hours before the start. I didn’t know anything, so I had to find out how to register etc.

The course was around five kilometers long, had two short hills and only one real corner, but riders were braking ALL THE TIME. Like full stop braking. I didn’t like it, so I stayed in the back of the peloton with a “security distance”.

Heusden Kermesse
Photo: Julien De Bock

The course took us through the town center with lots of spectators which was awesome. There were to sections with a kind of cobbles, that didn’t feel too good to ride on, but it was surprisingly where I could use my strength and take some places further up the group. But, it also made bottles jump out of their cages making me have to elude a few times.

We were 116 riders and I was surprised that no one crashed. I had to close a few gaps in between, but I managed to get home with the bunch without being able to do the sprint though.

Kermesse Wilrijk
Photo: Hinninck Paul

It was a fast race with an average speed of 39 km/h over 93 kilometers and faster than our normal races in Denmark, but I had no problem following, so I guess I’m stronger than last year. Nice to know 😉

After the race I drove to my Airbnb. But first I had to go to the supermarket. I wasn’t aware of the clock and when I parked the car the supermarket was closing in less than 10 minutes, so I only had time to buy bananas and an ice coffee. I figured I could shop in the morning.

Heusden Kermesse
One of the cobbles section in Heusden.

I was very hungry, so I bought some take-away before going to the accommodation. When I arrived, the key to the house was not in the key box. I didn’t believe it! It was 20:30 and I was so tired.

I waited an hour and then someone opened the door for me. But the room wasn’t cleaned from the previous guest and everything was very dirty and there was a smell of smoking. Yikes!

I waited another 1,5 hours for someone to come and clean the room and bring me a key. It was 23:00 before I could go to bed. The room was still dirty though and the bathroom and kitchen also, so I decided to find something else the next day.

Malderen

I was tired, stressed and not motivated this morning because of the night before. Also, the supermarkets were closed on Sundays, so I had to eat breakfast at Starbucks.

This race was more like a Danish race. A long lap of 15,5 kilometers and we had to do six of them. The start was surprisingly slow, but that was perfect for me, since I’m a slow starter and always need to get my legs warmed up in the race.

The course was technical with a lot of obstacles, narrow roads and corners. Something happened in the middle of the bunch half through the first lap and a big crash went on in front of me (yes, I was in the back again) so to avoid it I jumped to the sidewalk – phew, that was close! Another small crash happened and a few ‘how-did-they-not-crash’ incidents, so a very nervous day on the bike.

Kermesse Heusden
Photo: Kevin Buyssens

The big crash took out maybe half the peloton, including the ones being caught behind it, so I was lucky to be able to pass and regroup with the front.

Then the pace went up and at one point an attack happened in a technical part with crosswind afterwards, so someone further up the line couldn’t hold on to the wheel and then I had to close a really big gap. I managed, but I used a lot of energy on it.

Several times I tried to go to the front, but it was difficult with the narrow roads and corners all the time. I could only do it on the bigger roads in headwind. I did go to the front once, taking a lead, but when I went a little back and was surrounded of riders trying to get my position I didn’t like it and decided to stay in the back. I could “easily” hang on in the back, but it was just a waste of energy that I could have used racing in front.

Kermesse Malderen
Horses along the course.

It was a very hot day but I didn’t have anyone to give me bottles along the course, so I rode with two big bottles and I still had to save in the end even though it took less than 2,5 hours to race 93 kilometers.

Most of the other riders had people to give them bottles and I guess there are no rules of when and where to give them (in Denmark we have feeding zones for that which is safer, I think). I never knew when people were taking a bottle and often they lost it and it rolled on the road. I had to avoid a few of them and that is not a funny game.

Gaia Sport Danmark
Used a lot of energy from out team sponsor: Gaia Sport Danmark.

After the race I returned the key for my Airbnb and drove to a house where to Swedish and one Italian rider were living. They had an extra bed I could borrow.  SO NICE!! We went out for dinner in the evening with two Belgians too and it was really good to be social instead of sad and alone in a dirty room. I was happy again 🙂

Wilrijk

I slept 10 hours!! Hallelujah guess I needed it 😊 I slept much better than last night and I was very happy to be in a much nicer place with some sweet girls, so my motivation was back, and the stress gone.

Unfortunately, I woke up to rain, so I was thinking of a good excuse not race. It had been a while, since I rode in the rain, so I didn’t feel like racing in rain at all. Luckily it cleared up in the afternoon and off I went.

The race started at 15:00 and was a circuit of only three kilometers. We were around 40 riders, so a small peloton but with some fast women from UCI teams, U23 champions and former champions.

Kermesse Brasschaat
Photo: Kevin Buyssens

It was mostly dry weather with some short showers and a little wind. The first lap was a “dead lap” and then we had to stop at the finish line before the race could start. I was amazed about the number of spectators and it was like there was a little town festival going on with Tivoli and stuff. Awesome!

The race went off full gas and I tried to hang on, but my back wheel felt weird and after slipping a few times I didn’t quite trust it so I took it a bit too easy in the corners. That meant that I had to use a lot of energy on closing gaps. There were also a lot of attacks, so a few times I had to close very big gaps, when someone attacked after a corner. I kept thinking I couldn’t do it, but I kept getting back to the bunch.

Europcar Belgium
My rental car and Liv Langma.

At one point I thought that I might as well die trying to escape than closing gaps, so I made one attack that didn’t last long, but at least I tried.

After 1,5 hours on the limit, closing one gap after another, I was out of drinks and out of power. Another gap had to be closed, but I had no more left in the tank, so instead of mission impossible, I decided to save energy for tomorrow’s race and called it the day after 60 kilometers in the hurt box.

I hate to DNF (Did Not Finish) but I wouldn’t have caught the group and would probably have been pulled out of the race in the end anyway. At least I was one of the last to let go of the decimated group to finish the race.

Brasschaat

The last race of my little Belgium tour was a bit different than the others. The course was less than three kilometers but had a long cobbles section (and this time the real cobbles) and a section with gravel. Both sections had a 90 degrees corner, so it was a question of technique and positioning.

I was motivated to do good, but then I did the course before the start and thinking of riding on the cobbles and gravel in a big bunch was a bit frightening, so I talked myself a bit down and said to myself it would be okay to DNF because of the difficult course. Never do that! Because what happened? I did another DNF, of course. Stupid.

Kermesse Wilrijk
Photo: Hinninck Paul

The lap had a wide and long road before the first corner, but I failed to fight for a position in front and was in the back from the beginning. The peloton with around 60 riders was stretched out long because of narrow roads and corners, so it was difficult to get back to the bunch, when we finally hit the wide road again.

I managed to get back a few times, but then I thought I had a puncture and used too much time on checking instead of just continuing the chase. Sometimes I don’t know if it is just in my head, when I’m not motivated or looking for a way out, that I think everything is wrong with the bike.

Kermesse Wilrijk
Photo: Hinninck Paul

After that it was game over and I couldn’t catch the group again. I could ride 40 minutes and then I was pulled out of the race. Annoyed at myself, but another learning.

What now?

I am back home in Denmark now, but I already feel like going back to Belgium and race more. I want to be able to do the positioning battle and the lack of races in Denmark makes it difficult to learn. But, my piggy bank is not endless, so I must choose my travels with care.

Nerja and Training Camp in July

Veleta

It has been a month since I was in Spain, but I have been too busy after I came home, to write anything down. But here it is! Not just one, but two EPIC RIDES to report about 😊

Nerja
Nerja main road.

When I left Nerja back in March I said that I wanted to go back in the Summer. I wanted to try riding in the heat and experience the town with tourists. So, after the Nationals I bought flight tickets and off I went, just me and my Langma bike.

Nerja
Back in town…

Arriving

To get the most out of my trip I took a morning flight to Spain. Little did I think of the holiday season, so missing the first bus and waiting an hour to check-in, I had no time to get food before boarding and went straight to the plane as the monitor said “closing”.

I was up at 3:00, so I was very tired and fall asleep shortly after departure. When I woke up the food wagon had passed, and I had to settle with my snacks of nuts, dates and biscuits. Not the breakfast I imagined and not enough to keep me full until landing, but I had no choice.

La Bella Julieta
My favorite coffee-stop place on Costa del Sol: La bella Julieta

In the plane I fantasized about Starbucks coffee and other good stuff I would gladly pay too much for when arriving in Málaga Airport. But, fooled again, we were taken on a detour outside the transfer area and I could forget about coffee or anything else.

A shuttlebus was waiting for me, so again I had to go straight to the bus without time to buy anything outside the airport.

Ice cream Nerja
Had an ice cream on the first day. And the next 14 days 🙂

Finally, I reached Nerja around 11:30 and I was dying of hunger, so before even thinking about going to my rental, I went to the nearest café and had a sandwich. People were watching a bit when I dragged my suitcase and bike case along to the table.

Accommodation

Because it was kind of a last-minute decision, and because of the high season, I couldn’t find a payable apartment, so I had booked a private room on Airbnb. I was a bit too early, but the women who owned the house of my room was kind enough to get her son to let me in.

Nerja Airbnb
The house I lived in for two weeks (in a room in the house though).

While I was waiting for him the neighbor, an old lady, came out to chat and offered me to put my luggage in her yard and sit on a chair of hers. She only spoke Spanish, so I didn’t understand everything, but I put my luggage in and went for something to drink. It was a hot day! That is something I love about the Spanish people. Their kindness and openness, always up for a chat and a helping hand, even to strangers.

Everyday Routine

May days were mostly breakfast, ride, lunch, tanning, Tour de France, ice cream, dinner, sleep and repeat. It was like being on a training camp on my own and I also did most of my rides alone.

CC Narixa
A big group of CC Narixa riders (do you spot someone different?)

But the weekend rides were reserved for the local club, CC Narixa, and I now have two more epic rides to put in my book of epic rides. It was very nice to see some familiar faces, and on the club’s Sunday ride there were a lot more people than in the winter. New and old faces, but I was still the only woman, so everything was as usual 😉

Epic Ride to Veleta

On the first Saturday, me and some of the Narixa guys took the car to Granada, because we wanted to go to Veleta. A mountain in Sierra Nevada being more than 3.000 meters above sea level. On top is a ski station, but it was closed.

Veleta ride
From the Veleta ride.

The ride was 84 kilometers with 2.500 elevation meters. The route almost went up from the beginning and started with double digit percentages and I was thinking to myself “not again, I will die”, but it only took 2 kilometers and then the rest was eatable 6-8% average. But it lasted for more than 3 hours!

Veleta ride
From the Veleta ride.

We had two stops on our way up. The last was at the ski station, were people normally park their cars and buy food/drinks. Now, without much snow left, people go there to walk or ride bikes.

Veleta ride
From the Veleta ride.

From the last stop, we still had 12 kilometers to the top and now the landscape was pure open, and a strong wind was teasing us. At one point I had to take my foot to the ground and hold against a wind blow, so I didn’t fall. It was a bit scary, but I wanted to go to the top!

Veleta ride
From the Veleta ride. The parking lot at the ski station.

The others had told me that the road was going to be really bad, but I thought “how bad can it be?” Ha-ha, bad, like really, really bad! Like, you need a mountain bike bad. The last 500-1.000 meters the road was turned into big holes and giant rocks and I was shifting between being afraid of a flat tire and crashing.

Veleta ride
From the Veleta ride. The road starting to turn bad.

Towards the end the road just went into gravel, but big rocks gravel, until a gigantic rock blocked the way and we thought it was best to turn around. We had reached more than 3.000 altitude meters and the ski station lift.

Veleta ride
From the Veleta ride. Had to touch the snow!

After taking some pictures and touching the snow, I just wanted to get down as quickly as possible. I was freezing (it was 14 degrees on top and I was not wearing arm or leg warmers), also I didn’t like the wind or the bad “road”.

Veleta ride
From the Veleta ride.

On my way down a professional from CCC was on his way up and while I took my foot out of the pedal to not crash on the rocks, he went faster than I could say “wow!” over the rocks like it was nothing (on his road bike!). Crazy type number 1.

Veleta ride
Almost everyone from the Veleta ride.

Then, when I finally hit the normal road again, I was being very careful because of the wind. I met a Bora-Hansgrohe rider going up and shortly after, I sensed someone behind me. I thought it was one of my Narixa guys, so I looked back and starred right into the Bora-Hansgrohe riders face. I didn’t have enough time to recognize who it was because, in a glimpse of an eye he passed me, and despite his high-profile wheels he didn’t care about the wind at all. I could see his bike being slammed from side to side because of wind blows, but he just continued. Crazy person number 2. I saw him again at the parking lot, so he had everything under control. It was just me being a chicken, I guess 😉

Veleta ride
From the Veleta ride. Still a little snow left.

It took 3,5 hours to climb 44 kilometers, but only 1 hour to go 40 kilometers downhill (a slight change in the return route compared to going up). We had left Nerja at 7:00 and I was back at 16:00, so a long day, but what an epic day it was!

Veleta ride
On top of Veleta.

We had a coffee stop after the ride, before taking the car back to Nerja, and as always, I need to eat after a ride (everyone does). A recovery meal of protein AND carbs (something I think a lot of people, talking about recovery meals and proteins, forgets to mention, but proteins are better absorbed combined with carbs – and you also need the carbs).

Veleta ride
From the Veleta ride.

I ordered a sandwich and got a GIANT one. The guys were laughing at me, and talking long about not eating anything themselves, but when tapas was served at the table (it is normal to get free tapas with your drink in Spanish bars) they ate it all, ha-ha. But I am used to having comments on the amount I consume on and off the bike, so I don’t care. And hey, I don’t look this good by not eating 😉

Tapas
I do love food!

Epic Ride to Trevélez

The second Saturday, we were heading towards Trevélez and this time on the bike from Nerja, which made it a ride of more than 200 kilometers and 3.000 elevation meters.

CC Narixa Trevélez
Early birds to Trevélez.

We started early at 7:15 on a beautiful morning. Me and a handful of Narixa guys. The first 40-50 kilometers were very familiar. The coastline to Salobreña and then into the mountains. I was saving energy for the climb which was up and down for around 30 kilometers. Not knowing the climb made me stay in zone 3 to be sure not to blow up, but when we reached the top I felt a bit too fresh. The climbing was long, but not steep and very beautiful and HOT!

Trevélez ride
From the Trevélez ride

We had to stop several times to fill our bottles and thank God for all the fountains (or maybe just the nature/people who put them there). At one water stop Carlos wanted me to taste the water while he was looking. I thought it was a bit weird, but I did and I almost spitted it out again. He was laughing! The water was sparkling and tasted a bit like a fart because it was ionized somehow. Very weird and I didn’t like it.

Fuente Agria
Fuente Agria with the weird water.

The level in our group was very different, so while waiting for the others, we sought shadow under umbrellas belonging to a few stalls. They were selling dried fruits and other good stuff and we were offered to taste, so I had figs, honey-roasted sesame seeds and almonds. Yummy!

Trevélez ride
Seeking shadow on the way to Trevélez.

When we reached the top of the climb and the small town, Trevélez, it was 40 degrees and time for lunch. This time we all had a big sandwich and loads of Coca-Colas! No one was talking about not eating and for once I think I ate the least. Mostly because I had been eating throughout the ride, so I didn’t need that much extra, and because I don’t like to ride with my stomach too full.

Lunch in Trevélez
Lunch in Trevélez. I also had a sandwich, was just waiting for it, so don’t worry 😉

The downhill took about an hour and my bottle were full at the beginning. But the warm weather, a 40 degrees wind in the face, and probably too much salt in the jamón sandwich, made me drink both bottles before reaching the bottom and I was still very thirsty!

Trevélez ride
From the Trevélez ride.

There was no fountain or gas station or anywhere to get drinks before reaching the main road, so I was a critical point getting more and more dry in my mouth. My lips were so dry that they glued together, and I could only think of getting fast to liquid.

Drinks
Couldn’t get enough drinks!

When we finally stopped at a gas station I bought 1,5 liters of water, a can of coke and an Aquarius. I filled my bottles (1 liter) and drank the rest (1,33 liters) before getting back on the bike. After that I was flying, and we went full gas for the last 40-50 kilometers home.

Trevélez ride
Beautiful sights on the Trevélez ride.

Maybe a bit too fast, because we ended up being only three passing the Nerja sign together, but it was good for me to use all my saved energy from the climb.

I really enjoyed being back, riding with friends, seeing new places and recharge the batteries for the last part of the season. I hope to be back soon, but right now my focus is on racing.

Trevélez ride
Remember to have fun!

A weekend of racing in Sweden

Elisedals GP

Last Friday, only two days after returning from two weeks solo “training camp” in Spain, I packed my bags once again at headed towards Sweden. I went for a weekend of racing and to get the second half of the season started. It had been exactly four weeks without racing and I was looking forward to pin on my numbers again.

Malmø sightseeing

I had my mother (and her dog) with me as chauffeur, motivational encourager and helper. Even though she knows very little of racing, she did a good job and we also had time to do some sightseeing in Lund and Malmö.

Friday – Höllviken GP

I started the weekend with an evening street race in Höllviken. We were around 30 women from Denmark and Sweden competing together, and we had to race 45 minutes plus three laps on a 1,5 kilometers course.

Höllviken GP

I had a bad start, as someone in front of me had problems getting started, so with three corners in the first few hundred meters, I started with having to close a big gap. When I did, in less than a lap, there were already two riders in a breakaway.

Unfortunately, is was two riders from Team Rytger (they were seven riders and way outnumbered) so the front was blocked and every attempt on pursuit or attack was closed.

Höllviken GP

I tried to get away a few times, but if I had a gap, I lost it again in the corners. I don’t know why, but even though I rode 30 minutes on the course before the start, and I knew there was only one sharp corner, I doubt myself in races and use the brakes way too much. So stupid!

I also placed myself badly in the bunch sprint and came in as #17. A bit disappointed, but at least I know what I did wrong for next race.

Höllviken GP

Saturday – Ringeloppet

I didn’t sleep well or enough, so I was very tired on Saturday morning. The race this day started at 10:05 in Hököpinge Kirkby and I wanted to be there at least one hour before. But somehow, I miscounted and suddenly at around 9:00, still being at the hotel, I realized that we should have been on our way 30 minutes ago! I panicked, found my mom and off we went in a hurry!

Elisedals GP

Luckily, I ALWAYS pack and get all my things ready for racing the night before, which is crucial when things like this happens. We made it with less than 30 minutes to spare, but I had time to register, visit the toilet and do a few minutes of warm up.

When the race started I was very stressed, my legs were tired and my motivation not good, so I sat in the back of the peloton, trying to get into race mode.

We were 46 riders (elite and juniors together) and we were looking forward to 88 flat and non-technical kilometers on a 11 kilometers long lap.

Elisedals GP

It was burning hot and a little windy. The pace was high and when we got to the section with sidewind the peloton split, and I was sitting in the wrong half (stupid).

When I realized what was happening in front of me, I passed a few riders and tried to close the gap. I don’t know how many we were in the chasing group, but we managed to get back to the front group. I used A LOT of energy on that move, so I tried to recover in the back. When we got to the sidewind the second time, the peloton split again and once again I was in the wrong half (how stupid can I be?).

Elisedals GP

This time I didn’t have the energy to close the gap again. I tried, but it was game over. I ended in a group of five or six riders, but we were only two willing to do the hard work. The others helped now and then, but mostly just sat on the wheel. Maybe they didn’t have the power, but I really didn’t understand why everyone was not contributing. It was not like we were going for victory, but only a top 20 or so.

With a few laps to go we were accompanied from behind by a big group of riders. I had thought we were the last ones, but apparently not. At first, I thought “cool, more people to do the work”, but haha, fooled again. They all just hided in the back with one taking a short lead now and then.

Elisedals GP

Then I thought “we are a big group now, but I think I am the strongest here, so at least I want to win the sprint” (me making new goals along the way, trying to keep up motivation).

With the ‘win’ in mind, and clever from damage (as we say in Danish) I decided not to take a single lead on the last lap. No matter how low the pace would go, and I was certainly challenged on that, I had to keep calm and patient.

Of course, one of the riders who had not contributed at all took a leap of faith and tried to escape the group on the last lap. I got so angry that I immediately closed her and told her NOT to do that again. She obeyed.

Elisedals GP

But then another tried her luck in the last kilometer or so and I was hoping for someone else to close her. To my luck three riders went for her and I followed them, but I could quickly see that they wouldn’t catch her, so I had to help.

When I took the front only one could stay in my wheel, but I needed to take some air one last time, so I got her to take the front again. After a short break I fired my last shot to reach the rider in front and I got rid of my following rider in the move. But I missed the rider in front by maybe one meter. Afterwards I found out that she was a junior rider, so I didn’t even have to catch her since we were not competing for the same points.

Elisedals GP

After the race I was a bit angry at myself. I was tactical stupid that day and I payed big time! But again, I learned and know how not to do it now 😉

Sunday – Elisedals GP

It was my last time to shine on Sunday and the race was a short criterium of 32 kilometers on a very easy 1,7 kilometers course with six soft corners. We were around 30 starters and I finished 18th in the bunch sprint (I was not sprinting) and we raced with an average of 40 km/h on another hot day!

Elisedals GP

The race had a lot of intermediate sprints which made it difficult to get away. Everyone tried all the time, but no one succeeded. Again, I was struggling a bit with staying in front. It was either in the front all the time or in the back. I didn’t seem to be able to find the middle of a peloton…hmm.

Elisedals GP
Post race talking.

At one point I wanted to be near the front for an intermediate sprint, but then I ended with leading the bunch, which was not optimal. I looked back and saw Josefine close to my wheel. I called her, she nodded and then I went full gas to make a lead-out for her for the sprint. She won it!

Elisedals GP
Josefine on the podium for the sprint win.

I also tried to get one myself later, but think I was third or something and it was the last one, only a couple of laps from the finish. I should have stayed in front, because the speed went up from there, and I never saw the front again. I couldn’t get a good position for the final sprint, so I didn’t even try and just rolled over the finish line.

Elisedals GP
Last ride together as team mates. Josefine is moving on.

Tactical I did a lot better in this race, but still not satisfying and I still have things to improve. At least I am not concerned about my fitness, but I can’t use it for much, when I am struggling with positioning and not racing cleverly.

 

On to the next race! 😊