Here is Martina's race report from Tjejvättern 100 km bike race in Sweden. Instagram @maskroskraft
- The nervousness before, holy shit, it was extreme! Once on the starting line, however, I was most excited and eager to get started - I started the race by cycling with a group from Power Woman but I ended up a little wrong, behind some other girls, so I saw that my group started before me and I was slowed down by those who were in front of me. I tried to catch up but then my heart rate got too high and I didn't feel like pushing too hard in the beginning so I let them go and decided to run my own race.
- There was a tailwind and I had a good flow with alert and strong legs. I passed a lot of people and I enjoyed riding on the roads without stops and distractions. I didn't look at the distance on my watch so when I suddenly saw the depot sign I was shocked. WHAT? I had already cycled a little over 30 km? - Full of energy, I stopped and went to the toilet, drank some coffee and ate a banana. I took a gel every half hour plus sports drink and never felt low on energy. (The ant was a good choice, my stomach has never been so good! I have had stomach problems before with too many gels and sports drinks).
- Off again and directly to the famous hill at Omberg. I was quite afraid of this one. I have had quite a few incidents on hills where I have shifted wrong and the chain has jumped off and I have fallen. Not good for my self-confidence. I immediately felt that, nope, I'm not going to fight too hard in this one so I went up half." After I got up the hill, it then went downhill quickly and suddenly I hear something fall from the bike. A screw had broken and I was quite nervous because it was going downhill so fast. It turned out that the bike shoes were completely loose and the screws had come loose. Now I also started to get tired mentally and just wanted to get to the depot. Once there, Andreas, my husband, had made his way there and helped me with the shoes. I drank blueberry soup and had a bun. More coffee and talked to people. There was a lot of time in this pit because of the problems with the shoes.
- The road to the next and last pit at 79 km was hard with a terrible headwind and now my lower back and down to the back of the thigh started to hurt. I tried to move and tilt my back as I cycled to relieve the pressure on my back. I rode on with light legs anyway but wondered if the pit will NEVER show up. I thought to myself that "if my back did not hurt, I would have had it as "easy" as possible". It felt like an eternity and eventually I couldn't cycle anymore so I stopped and tried to stretch and move.
- Once I arrived at the last depot, I visited the toilet AGAIN, I was crazy needing to pee (how much can a person pee really?😂) And then I will not go into how many times I was in the toilet BEFORE the race. haha!).
- The headwind that now came from the side continued and I was so SICK that it howled in my ears. I wanted peace and quiet! The legs cycled on easy and with high cadence to save energy. The pain in my back released a little and I got lots of energy when I realized that it was not so far away. The wind slowed down and it became a tailwind and I smiled to myself. I had cycled stably in zones 2 and 3 all the way and now I thought it was time to shit in the zones and just drive!
- When I saw the Motala sign, I had a laughing attack while crying a little. Imagine that what I was so nervous about before, became a completely different story. I who so easily get catastrophic thoughts felt NONE of it. I trusted my body! I cycled everything I could into the finish and I roared with joy!
- I am so incredibly proud of how I tackled my first long bike race and I got confirmation that my training has paid off. I was full of energy afterwards and not exhausted. I had a desire to get around in under 4 hours, it did not happen but the final time was 4.45 but considering that I stayed quite long in depots with problems, the goal was not so far away. I am crazy happy about my journey which is not only about a physical achievement but so much more. I felt the fear and did it anyway.
- The next day I woke up with the craving again. I WANT MORE! Exactly what remains to be seen, maybe running next year with my own group? There are so many possibilities and nothing stops me from reaching my dreams.