This morning we found the sun had left Lenzerheide/Churwalden en it was a little easier to leave this beautiful place to go back home. Only 24 hours before that I left to hotel to take the bus to the Rothorn uplift and placed my Remedy in line 5 around 9am. The Rothorn Gipfel was bright and sunny, but very chilly. Last time I was one of the last riders in line 0 all the way back, so it was a first for me to get up this early. In time to go back down and chill for a few hours before race day.
Qualifying for line 5
Saturday is usually raceday too, racing for your place on the start grid. Last time I had a DNF because of 3 flats. I was determined to finish without flats or any other type of problems. And preferably within 25 minutes. We had done 6 runs on friday and I did just the bottom-part on saturday morning because of the huge line to go up. This one run felt perfect so I left it to that, went into chill-mode and waited for our time to go up. This year a massive amount of Dutchies entered the race and we all started 15 seconds apart, a Dutch invasion on the Rothorn Gipfel, it was just awesome! Annemieke was the first to open the race for us. I think I was nr 5 and I struggled a little with the first tight corner, but got into gear soon after. I felt pretty strong and I had the time on my new pretty purple Raceface bars, this to remind me to keep peddling. (I have a tendency to just cruise sometimes), the last section in the woods I had some back-pains and that was a little distracting. I crossed the finish and found out my time was 21:43, oh yeah I had done it! Eventually I was 16th overall (57 women) and first dutch girl. Us dutch girls had a little friendly competition going on who was going to finish first this weekend. I texted my trainer and she gave me solid advice: sure this is a good result, just don’t get to excited, it’s sunday you need to focus on.
Back to raceday
Sunday, raceday! We had several hours to go and arrived at the top around 12.30, right on time to go find our bikes. I had chosen a very stupid place to start. I had thought it was smart to stay near the mountain wall, but that was a very tight spot and I had no way to move. The signal sounded, René Wildhaber was on his way to another victory and we where walking towards the first slope. I finally got on the bike and it wasn’t for long I tumbled over the bars. That was a pretty nasty fall, but I was more worried to get back on and not fall behind the fast riders too much. Because that would lead to an advantage of riding instead of walking on the technical trails. We still had to walk quite much, but I was much better than last time. After the race we compared stories, and we all had to walk a lot and all had to squeeze the brakes more with so many people on the track. And mainly that was more exhausting than just letting the bike rip.
I passed the Talstation and took off my goggles and prepared for the uphills that where waiting for us. I tried to stay cool and take my time for it, but in the meadows I needed to stop to prevent from hyperventilating. I looked up and there was my friend Belinda, we complained a second about the heat and walked on. I expected us to ride on together but I think her Stinky was holding her back too much. The climbs where taking it’s toll, the evidence was very visible on my Garmin. If it had colors it would be bright red, 99% of the max. That would explain for the dizziness. Wanting not to give up and not able to get the pedals go around, I just kept walking. In the last uphill I eventually got up the bike again, and tried to enjoy the last 2 km’s, the trails and the scenery. I made it across the line in 1:05 (25th place out of 57 women, 44 finished).
I took a while before I could enjoy this result, I was very happy I improved my time and I won our friendly competition. But it did hurt and the heat was overwhelming in a way that left me a little unsatisfied. Soon it turned into dedication, this leaves room for improvement! The potential to improve over this result is just waiting on the surface, it just needs more work. Maybe a lot of work, but I have to tell you, it’s been so much fun getting to where I am now and I’m actually proud of the progress so far.
Hopefully I’ll be there next year in Lenzerheide, with more skills and power, to take on the competition of the fastest Dutch girl in the Swiss mountains. Girls I dare you!
- Dutchies: http://services.datasport.com/2011/mtb/bikeattack/LANDNL.HTM
- Women: http://services.datasport.com/2011/mtb/bikeattack/RANG011.HTM
- Men: http://services.datasport.com/2011/mtb/bikeattack/RANG001.HTM