Perhaps my favorite race of the island, 4 days of playing off-road on the trails of Lanzarote! An official UCI cat.1 competition, with cracks trying to score points for the Olympic Games.
I’d have liked race in Elite categorie, but taking a cycling license wasn’t worth it for this single race. So I set myself the goal: winning the Masters race and hunting for the Elite who starts 1 minute earlier. Furthermore, not too much pressure and risk, after all it is only a good training. Although I wonder if it works like that in my mind..😉
Day 1: 42km
The legs needed half an hour to warm up, as I just had a proper week of training and hardly had taken rest for this race. Soon I felt pretty strong and I already passed some Elite. In the last 10km I managed to catch 2 more and then I felt it happen: bang! Hit a stone. I will not put my thoughts of that moment into words, it will speak for itself. 😤
With a good change my losing time should be limited but I couldn’t get air in the new tube. I had to ride with a flat front tire and walk on the parts with many stones to not damage my wheel. Well… it was only 7km..
25 minutes behind the first Master, without any further problems, I still believe in my chances.
Day 2: 62km
As far in front as possible, between the fast men, I took place at the start. Every second now should count. As a madman, as if it were a sprint, we started. From the beginning I felt strong and on fire. I passed early in the race Elite which I passed the day before much later. Did I have a great day or were they less?
In the meantime went through my head like a mantra: be careful with the stones, do not puncture! And yes, already after 15km, rear wheel shock 🤬. As a trained tire changer I was back on my bike after 8 minutes, like a fool I started chasing again. No idea who or what I passed, the only thing that counted was to get over that finish as fast as possible.
There I was told that despite the flat tire I was still 1st master and had won 3 minutes back on the number 1. Still 22 minutes to go, ufff… luckily the best is kept for last and I‘ll have to close the gab in the last 2 stages.
Day 3: time trial 21km
Uphill, partly easy, partly technical and a heavy breeze. Even though it’s a relatively short stage, I knew that I had to make the difference here and win minutes back. I started as a madman and thought after about 10 minutes: you can’t handle this till the top, you’re going to bonk! No, I found my rhythm and could continue to give all. After 1h06 I reached the top and putted, without taking my eyes of the finish clock, the aluminum foil under my cycling shirt. Minutes passed and after 9 my biggest competitor crossed the finish line, started 1 minute later, won 8 minutes, 13 left…
P.S. Shared 4th place overall woman!
Day 4: 84km
More than 1500 altitude meters including a climb of about 7km, this was going to be a hard day. But I really needed that to have a chance of winning the classification. I still felt relatively fresh and started again as hunted wild. In the beginning the legs still felt a bit tired, but I kept pushing and catched an Elite every now and then. The climb was tough, but that’s what it was for everyone. There were two thoughts going through my mind: ‘You ride like a beast, it’s impossible that she reach the finish line within 14 minutes behind you!’ And ‘Go, keep pushing, you can’t lose any second, imagine you lose the rankings in a few seconds, then you’ll kill yourself! ”
The top of the climb was reached but I knew that the way back wasn’t easy, technical descents with crosswind and up and down continuously. In the last 15km I saw a group with 2 Elite in front of me, that worked like a magnet, two more places up in the day’s result (no idea where I was at that moment)! Not much later I reached them, and I had 2 woman and 2 men in my back. For me only my time counted, so I continued my speed. And do you know what gives you such a kick? If you do a bit of effort 3km before the finish, look back, and there is no one in your back anymore.
Just within 4 hours I came, as 6th woman (1st master) over the finish. Even now I wasn’t going to lose my eyes of the clock, but soon I was told that I was already in virtually first position from halfway of the race. Finally I catched 26 minutes for this stage.
YEAH! Mission accomplished!
Again I enjoyed the first race of the season, amazed by the performances and how strong I feel now, let the first triathlon come: 17 February Ocean Lava Tenerife!
📸: James Mitchell Photography