At the beginning of the season one of the goals was reaching the selection criteria to participate in the World Championships Mountain Bike Marathon in Singen. And the first competition of the season was spot on. I finished 5th in the UCI World Series in Laissac.
Although I was not going the be the next World Champ it's always really cool if you can represent your country on such a big event.
The last couple of weeks we had been focusing on training and being as fit as I could get. I never raced in Singen before but I know it was a fast, not technical course. Maybe not the best thing for me, but I was determined to do well. Peter would accompany me to prep the bikes and supply me in the feed- and technical zone.
Of course I was not the only rider representing Belgium. This year we were two women and seven men. For most of them it wasn't there first participation.
The morning after we drove the last K's to our destination. In Singen we went for a coffee and a recon of the course. Beside the last KM to the finish there was not too much of single track to be seen. So I know it would be a very hard race for me.
Sunday morning I wasn't all to stressed, to me it felt like another big race with just a lot more women riders. I tried to stay focused in the start box next to Jolanda Neff. Peter arranged a cooperation with team Merida Wallonie for the supply of my bottles in the other feed zones. Peter stayed at the start/finish feed zone to service the other Belgian riders.
At 10 am the start was given, I was in the pack and could follow surprisingly well until the first uphill. I took my own pace and got in a little group with a dutch girl Linja and two German girls.
We stayed in that group for the first 20K's and than we were left with three riders. The two German girls and me. The first loop went good, but in the second loop the climbs got steeper. I could stay on the bike but one of the girls was to strong uphill and I could not keep the pace. The last 30KM were very hard, the fatigue was getting to me, but I kept fighting and passed a Polish girl. After almost 4hrs of racing as hard as I could, I reached the finish, where Peter was waiting for me. I was totally empty, so empty I really had to keep myself from crying.
But also very happy.... I did it!
I finished the race as good as I possibly could, no crashes, no technical issues.
I just did it, and I probably want to do this again some day
Thank you Peter for being there for me and arranging everything from the bike to my food so I only had to ride as hard as I could!
Without you being there I would never do so good.
While writing this we're already packing for the next adventure. The ALPS EPIC in the French Alps this time.