|Early part of long distance (Cont. 3 - 30secs)|
I was lucky (and for once happy) to be seeded first of the red group so I knew I should catch the three starters ahead of me. I actually never saw them, I guess some different routes early one. Mickevicuite LTU started 12 minutes ahead and I was doubtful whether I could catch her, but I thought it might be close near the finish. I didn't bother looking at the start list in any more detail as the fast terrain would mean I shouldn't see many people ahead, nor be caught from later starters.
A small rush in the minutes before the start as I changed from leaking Camelbak (a relic of EYOC 2005, kjempe mouldy and generally gross) to a bottle. With a few seconds to spare I was ushered into the -3minute box where I could run through my race mentally for a few minutes.
|The long legs (Cont. 9 - 30secs)|
I lost 30 seconds to the 3rd control, it seems the ski track was faster than the straighter option, but I soon regained places after the spectator control. From control 5 onwards the athletes order remained similar Hara, Laurila, Thomasson, me, Hoffman, Sogaard, with only a few changes here and there. Once out of the butterfly loop the order was set for the final results. I was riding well from the start and my speed enabled me (along with a handful of others) to set a gap to the rest of the field. I was undecided on the long leg and choose to take the southern route over the marsh rather than head north. I felt my route was a little shorter, but in the end it was 30 seconds longer. Slowly I had to regain places again but a technical butterfly helped.
|Butterfly (I had 16 first loop, 12 second)|
Control 13 was problematic for me in many ways. Firstly I hadn't found any good route, so took the shortest that weaved around the straight line. I had to pause a few times on the leg to really get it sussed. I also was struggling to map read and bike (just for this one control) and even went on to miss the junction I wanted, losing 45 seconds as I turned around. Everything that could go wrong, did here, and it was probably this more than anything else that cost me the bronze in the race.
|Photo N. Vinogradova|
At the finish I was exhausted. My first long race I have been properly motivated for, and it was 17 minutes over the estimated winning time, and 5 minutes down on the leader Hara FIN. Silver was reachable, 2 minutes ahead, and bronze certainly attainable with a few better routes.
|Photo N. Vinogradova|