I really wanted to share some of my thoughts about my track races at this years European Championships, so here they are!
10.000m Points/Elimination: This was the first race for me this year, contrary to all the other years, where I have always started Euros off with the 300m time trial. I felt like, since I’m still in my base training-phase and the fact that I had been sick and still was, that I could skip the 300m this year. And I think it was a pretty good choice.
Usually I’m really nervous before races and sometimes my body will even shake on the starting line. I remember my first race at worlds 2013 in Rosario where my whole body just froze for the first half of the race. But this time was different – no expectations from anyone. I think that’s the reason I wasn’t really nervous at all before the race. Standing on the starting line I was even joking around, but as soon as that gun shot I was completely focused on the race. The first half I tried to relax and find my position in the peloton. I’m not that good of a fighter so I kept moving up and down a bit more than I should have, but when people started to get more tired it got easier to fight for positions and I managed to stay where I wanted pretty easily.
The track here kind of kills people, so when people came back from a break they were pretty dead. I think that’s also why we had some crashes during the race, thankfully I missed out on those. By the end I was still pretty tired even though I had’t gone for any points. But still felt like I had a final sprint left in my legs. So the last two laps I kept acceleration and I was actually really surprised when I kept passing people. But that also made me believe more that I had a shot at that last point on the finish line and so I gave it my all on those last two corners and got 1 point. It was kind of like a Massstart race for me, which is good preparation for the ice, with just relaxing during the whole race and then giving it all on the last winning sprint. I gotta admit, I have been really nervous about how my legs were and if they would ever be able to be fast enough, so this was a nice confirmation that I have done something right. Finishing 3rd on the line was a big surprise, but somehow very relieving. I was really happy with finishing 8th, it was a really great start – way more than I expected.
15.000m Elimination: After the great race I had the day before, my own expectations changed a bit and I really wanted to prove that I was able to deliver the same kind of result in this race too. I know people aren’t expecting me to do just that, but my head keep telling me otherwise – which is definitely a mentality I am working on not having. But nevertheless that made me a lot more nervous. Was I going to be just as good today? or would my legs blow up? or do something stupid to get me eliminated early while I still had more left in my legs? These are some of the thoughts I had before the race. One of my friends asked me after the race why I wasn’t smiling while warming up on the track just before the race – there is the reason. When I get nervous I always look a little bit mad I think, which is not a good thing I guess.
But as soon as we started the race all the nervousness just went away and all I could think about was finding a good position. I started off going to the front, resulting in 3 people coming in front of me and taking the lead, which gave me the 4th position in the peloton. I kept this for quite a while. It was pretty nice just staying there and relaxing, because I was safe from elimination. Like I wrote earlier I’m not the best person to fight for positions, but I was really happy with how great I was at doing that in this race. For most of the race I felt like I was moving all the time to keep my position and stay out of trouble. BUT – then I started to get tired! Around the last 4 eliminations before I was eliminated I was in the back sprinting for my life. I really gave my all in this race, despite being sick and not having the best preparation and it rewarded me with a 9th place – so still in the top 10.
I’m pretty satisfied with the two long distance races on track and I’m really excited to see what I can do on the road!
– Love Elena