At the end of last season Peter and I decided to put the Grand Raid Godefroy back on our program for this season. It had been 5 years since our last participation, back then it was organized by a different organisation and the last version was very poor. So the last few years the Eifel Marathon in Daun was on our calendar in stead of this mystical race. The new organisation was much better and so we decided to return to the race where the marathon story started 9 years ago.
|After I finished 70K GRG in 2008|
Due to organizational programs the National Championship Marathon in July was cancelled and the only event that was candidate to take over was the GRG at Bouillon. So coincidence or not, my first real National Championship ever would take place at the scenery I had my first marathon experience.
|The castle of Godefroy|
6:19 AM Carboloading
6:30 AM back in bed for 30 min chilling
7: 15 AM Getting dressed
7:30 AM warming up on the rollers
8:15 AM lining up for the start
Peter prepped everything for me: Thea, drinking bottles, putting my rollers in place, cleaning my rollers up again, taking some photo's, keeping me calm and coming to the line up to take my jacket.
I was nerves, although you wouldn't tell on my face, I couldn't hide it for Peter. Winning would be nearly impossible, a podium place was definitely a big possibility on paper. I was confident since the last races had been great. But the race still had to be raced and in mountain bike there are a few things that can go horribly wrong.
8:30 AM The start was given.
Peter arranged a 5 min head start for our own safety. Because beside the woman racing for the title there were about 500 men behind us to ride the same distance. The first kilometers were a bit narrow and to make sure we could have a fair race they gave us ahead start. After two K's behind a police motorcyclist we entered the muddy trails of Bouillon. I was in second position right behind the ruling Champion, Alice. My heart rate was going high but the legs felt great. After 4K's we had a little gap with the other girls a specially after muddy fast downhills they couldn't keep up. The first men passed us after 8K and at this time Alice turned up the pace. From this point on I had to keep my own strong pace. I raced by myself while now and then men were passing me. 20K's in the race Sara Van Peer joined me. This made me nervous because I realized she would be a tough client, I made some silly mistakes and this made me chase her twice. After a while she had a little gab that I couldn't close anymore. I had to keep fighting and concentrating because the trails were more technical than the last version of this race. The last 15K another girl passed me, I didn't recognize her and feared I would finished in 4th place.
In the last downhill we had to get off the bike to get over an obstacle and I pulled up my handlebar and hit my teeth. I thought I lost it but couldn't stop! I was still in the race...
I finished in 4th place on the 70K, but the girl that finished 3rd was French so spot 3 of the Championship was mine.
|Reaching the finish|
|After the finish realizing I got my podium spot|
|Recovery food after a freezing cold shower|
Sara - Alice - Sara
|You win some|
|You lose some|
In the meanwhile my tooth is fixed 😎
One more race to go Roc d' Azur here we come...
By the way the ladies did an awesome race because we finished in the first 50 scratch from the more than 300 finishers 💪
Thanks to all our partners for supporting us all the way. And special thanks to Peter 💗 for getting me to this point with a lot of nice words, some less nice words, kicking my ass when I needed it, prepping my bike, motivate me and some very hard training sessions, it worked. Nine years ago I was just happy finishing this race, now I reached the podium of the National Championship... Hungry for more