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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?).
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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! 😊