Sorry this post comes a little late, but I’ve been busy unpacking. Yes, I’m back in Denmark! But like always not for too long.
20.000m Elimination: I was really excited before this race, since it was the first race on the road track, where I’m strongest. At the same time I was not excited, because I knew there would be a lot of fighting. Elimination races (especially in the womens category and especially on the road) tend to be a lot slower than the other races, this time even more so since the eliminations was only every 3rd lap. A slow race means a lot of fighting for positions, and sometimes crashes. So before the race I thought a lot about how I could avoid all the fighting. There is not really any easy way to do it other than going to the front and kind of circle around in the top 10. But that is difficult because you still have to fight for your position and it is hard. This was kind of the theme of my race. I got eliminated way too early and it was pretty much my own fault. I wasn’t playing it safe. I thought staying in the back accelerating on the end of the corner and passing inside was a solid plan. It was not. It I got punished for it. Honestly I think I was too lazy to go in the front to lead and believed a little too much in myself and my abilities to pass on that last straight before the finish line.
10.000m Points: After the elimination the day before, I was really motivated to prove I was a lot better than I had showed the day before. I knew this was probably my best race, and also my favourite race. Before the race I was talking a lot with my coach Lasse about how I should race it. I believed the race was gonna be pretty hard, and I was a little afraid that if I went for points too early I was gonna be dead in the end. On the other hand, the chance of a breakaway was pretty big, so if I didn’t happen to have any points and the breakaway would go home, it would be pretty bad. So I decided my coach was probably not wrong about taking an early point and then chilling until the last part of the race and then try to go again. I kind of followed the plan, one of the first times that has happened! The race did end up being really hard with everyone dying towards the end. Since I had gone for an early point and then tried to relax and just follow I still had a little sprint left in my legs. So I imitated my track race and went for the finishing sprint, taking the second place on the finish line. Ended up at the 7th place, getting my best result for this year’s championship.
The Marathon: The famous climb of Steenwijk: I was so scared about that! The first marathon I did at a European championships i believe was in 2011 in Italy, and it had this huuuuge hill or at least that’s how I remember it. I was still cadet at this point. But I remember letting the peloton go on that hill on the first lap, dying on the second lap, leaving the race after doing probably 15 minutes of racing. And this is the only time I have done a marathon with a hill, and somehow that made pretty scared the same thing was gonna happen. Very irrational I know – I always expect the worst. In the end it wasn’t that bad. Or well the hill did kill you slowly. There were a lot of attacks during the race, but it took a long time before someone really did a break from the group. The plan for me was pretty much to stay in the group and try to do a good sprint in the end. I think I was about 4th in the group turning onto the hill, but ended up dying completely on it too. I still finished 14th though, so it was not too bad in the end. A lot of people were dead you could really see that, it was really killer course. Thanks for that Holland! It was a great experience.
So that concludes my first Senior European Championship. I am very happy with my results, and now it’s back to work, focusing 100% on the ice so I can kill it at the World Cups starting in November!
– Love Elena