So.. 2 days after winning the Dutch Championships Marathon for the 3rd time it is time to write something again! Very very cool that it worked out again!! So happy. It has also been a while since my last blog. Here an update with pictures again. In the last you could read that it was going up and down. Now, looking back, After the Dutch Championships XCO, which was a disaster, it went really well! Actually very good I'd like to say :) Ischgl Ironbike, M3 Montafon, Trans Schwarzwald, Grand Raid, Swiss Epic and Championship XCM: All podium!
Ischgl: the first long and extreme marathon this year. 3820hm in 79km. A few looong and steep climbs. In the beginning I was suffering, and was finding it hard to find my rhythm. But.. just keep on fighting. The feeling was getting back and I could pass a few girls in the downhills. So.. I ended up 2nd! After good friend and Epic partner Milena Landtwing found her super strong legs again! So cool! (chatting and laughing after the finish line :))
From Ischgl it is not far to Montafon! Just across one big mountain you are there. I had a week to recover and spent some good time with my parents and Luna (Vizsla dog, so nice!). We had a great week. Recovery, some hiking and a little bit of training. Between such hard and long races, you can not train so much, because your body really needs to recover well. Montafon M3: 4300hm in 135km! What? YES! Oefff.. But it worked out well again! Same store, after 2 hours I was having a hard time, had to take it easy, then, half an hour later I found myself again:) And could speed it up the end of the race. This was an long one. But very cool to be able to finish 2nd again! This was close though. I was riding on a good 3rd spot. Ann Kathrin Hellstern was very strong in the long climbs. But.. there was a long and tricky descent to the finishline. I could make up so much time there, that I was able to pass her and roll in 2nd! YES!
Next big thing: Trans Schwarzwald. 5 day stage race in the area where I live! Cool! I was able to win this race last year. So.. a little bit of pressure was there. But it was also not realistic to expect to win very easy again. After the crash, the time and energy it took to recover, I was on the good way. But my form was not top. It was good, but not super. This race could change this a little bit, but it was too early to reallly suffer and race full gas all the time! Still I managed to do a little bit better everyday. A few podiumresults and in the end even the 3rd place in GC. With Sabine Spitz as number one favorite and strong Ann Kathrin Hellstern in 2nd, I was just happy with this result! Also it was very nice that Sanne van Paassen joined me this week. We were there just by ourselves. The organisation of the race was super, which made it easer to show up without any help from someone else. Sometimes it is just how it is. We made the best out of it and had a lot of fun too! Also, very good media coverage: (you can see and hear me a lot, haha)
Big, bigger, biggest:
Grand Raid: The classic marathon in Europe, or maybe also in the world, is the Grand Raid in Wallis, Switserland. A one day race with 5100hm in 125km! Tough, long, hard, everything! :) This one was on my list already a long time.. now finally I was able to ride! Everybody warned me for the Pas de Lona at the end. After 7hours you have to climb up a pass, almost vertical for almost half an hour. I think I had a little bit too much respect for this one and started the race a little bit too slow. But hey, cool experience, and 3rd again! YES! Look at the pictures, I could enjoy thos views for a long time, because the climbs were not very technical, so you had time left to look around a little bit!
Swiss Epic: after the cape epic I think the biggest project of the year. Together With Anne Terpstra we were chasing a lot of UCI points and of course good results in this beautiful race. A very hard stagerace with long climbs and super technical downhills. Which we both enjoyed a lot! It went really well. I was feeling very good every day. I could feel that the races and training from the last weeks-months paid off and was in a good shape. Also we had the best possible help from Wiebe Terpstra and Han ten Hove. Guys, thanks again! It really was a team effort there. Anne and I finished 3rd everyday, so also 3rd in GC. Again in Wallis, views were stunning, it was all good!
And last but not least: Dutch championships marathon 2015! Last MTB race of this season. The Swiss Epic was a good preperation. I recovered well, did some very hard trainings in between and I traveled back to the Netherlands. 3 in a row? would be great, but very hard. With Annemiek van Vleuten being there, a very strong road pro was at the start. The course was hard, but it was dry. And not super technical, so as a mountainbiker I could not really get so much benefit out of the downhills. So.. it ended up being a long fight.. First together with Annemiek, later she dropped me on a climb. I was struggling that moment, but was finding my pace again and started to chase. The gap was getting smaller when Annemiek made a misstake and in all of a sudden, I was in the lead again. Now it was the other way around. I was being chased. Super cool that I could stay away and win! YES!
All of this, not only the last win, but the entire season.. It was not possible without you! Friend, family and sponsors! The support from people around me was so good! It is just not possible all by yourself. Herewith, I want to again thank all of my sponsors for being so supportive and good for me. That motivated me so much to even push it a little further! Many many many thanks. Writing this, gets me already super motivated to improve even more next season. Will be cool I think!
And now? A few weeks rest. Then wintertraining starts: in the snow, in the gym and on the bike. Even races: Cyclecross! To be continued... :)