|My new bike! Diamant Apex T29.1|
After yesterday I felt I had to have a good race. All the signs were there that I had potential to take a medal in the sprint, and given that the middle was the focus of my race prep (due to the unpredictable nature of sprints), I was feeling confident that things could go my way.
|Map of WE course with route|
The warm up area was the downhill slope, so not the easy warm up for the first 10 mins I like to have. But as with everything in sport, these routines can be adapted regardless of the situation. So I pedalled around, did a few uphill sprints, before realised I'd left my chain lube in my bag which I'd just handed in so had a 5 min panic to get it back!
As I started the 3 min countdown procedure I heard my wonderful boyfriend being announced as leading and only having a few minutes until the finish. It's nearly impossible to ignore the commentary at this point, and HJ crossed the line just as I started, so it was mildly distracting!
|Riding to the first control Photo: Donatas Lazauskas|
First control: right where I expected and so the decision on route was easy.
Two and three: again, in the area I expected, ticking off controls nicely.
Four: spectator control. Just ride fast.
Five: the long leg had already been planned on the way to control 1, so the execution was all that mattered. First road crossing as I knew where it was, then under the powerlines before taking the ATV tracks to the control.
Six and seven: no problem, just take the shortest route and start planning ahead again.
Eight and nine: no major route choices. Riding straight up to the railway seemed fastest and easiest so that was a no brainer. Nine had a small route choice where I lost 10 secs by not going under the powerline. Difficult to see the difference on the map, and everyone in the top 3 took my route anyway.
|Close up of technical section with route|
|WOC medal number 2|
As it turned out, it wasn't a fight for medals. I was safely in silver with none of the 5 starters behind me close at the radio controls, so I could instantly celebrate silver. It was short lived when I was told I had to pee in front of someone, and 2 hours later I finally managed to be hydrated enough to manage my first doping control. Unfortunately, I then didn't stop running to the toilet for the next 3 hours ... !
I'm pleased with the result and the time. In quarantine I knew the fastest time was 8 minutes under the planners estimate so I knew the course was fast. I then went another 2 mins quicker, with first place being 33 seconds ahead of me still. It's a shame the courses couldn't have been longer, but it was a mentally and physically challenging course which more than made up for the fast times.
|Emily Benham, Marika Hara FIN, Susanna Laurila FIN|
Photo: Donatas Lazauskas