I had signed up for Styrkeprøven Ladies Edition, cycling race from Lillehammer to Oslo last autumn. I have no memories of how that happened and why I did it. I guess that happened then when I had problems with my right hamstring and I wasn’t able to run as much as I wanted, and I needed new challenges. And a challenge the race was! As being a confident girl nowadays, I was quite sure I can handle a 191km cycling race if nothing horrible happens, but I had no idea how tough cycling can feel after cycling 140 km hard and being dropped from a good group due to own tactical mistakes. So heavy legs and empty head I’ve probably never before had in a race! And I liked it of course! :)
The race day was quite long and full of excitement. A lot of things happened – I mean a lot. Since I don’t want to bore you with all small details, I try to sum up the race nicely.
Good things: 125 women in their own mass start. Cycling around 100km in “jenterulle” with 10-12 other girls and being able to keep avg speed of 39 km/h. Three Rye ladies were able bike away from other ladies. No technical problems with my bike, no flat tires. Nice guys, who also gave turns in their “rulle” (unlike in Nordmarka Rundt, in which a few men thought I am a weak girl and was left out of the group)
Bad things: I made a stupid tactical mistake at around 135-140km and didn’t notice a gap between me and the two leading women, when some guys between us slowed down and stopped for a drinking station. I had to cycle around 15km alone with one guy trying the catch the lost group – with no success. That was very tough. I felt totally empty at 150km.
Surprises: I could cycle 191 km with avg speed of 38,75 km/h! Triathlete with running background could win quite many cycling girls. My “running legs” felt quite good after the finish line. Running a marathon after 180km doesn’t feel very impossible anymore. I gave an interview in Norwegian after the race. I remembered to eat almost enough.
Things to remember in future: I need to cycle more than 5 times with my road bike before a long race. My back was hurting already at around 100km and very much on Sunday, since I’ve used to aero position, not to road race position. Be ready to attack, not to “sleep” on the bike and let the winners bike away too early.
Feeling after the race: Very happy! It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed cycling with the other girls (and boys) a lot. Well-organized Ladies Edition! I will very probably do it next year too.
Important stuff: My friend Terhi was racing too and visiting me in Oslo. I had one of the best weekends in Norway and nicest race trips so far with her. Since I train mostly alone and spend a lot of time just by myself, it is extremely nice to have company every now and then!
Results here (PDF file).
Finnish triathlete living in Norway