2nd! After winning 4 titles in a row the last years, silver this year didn't feel like a loss. I was happy with it!! And still am! Annemiek van Vleuten, fresh time trial world champion, won. To me it was good to accept to get 2nd behind such a world class athlete.
The race was hard. As expected. The rain has changed the course into a real mudpool. For 115km it was a fight for every meter. It took me 5hours and 40 minutes where I really have left it all out there. The first half of the race I was riding together with strong mountainbikers and roadracers such as Karen Brouwer and Ellen van Dijk. The 2nd half was lonely. Just pulling and pushing for 60 km to the finishline!
After a season with ups and downs this is something where I am very pleased with. You are not always on 'a high' in life or in sport. I experienced that this year. I pulled through a lot of big and hard races with some real good results in the beginning of the year. It started with the Cape Epic, then podium at the Spilimbergo UCI World Series and 2 wins at both Riva and Willingen Bike Festivals. I could even pull that through to maybe the biggest highlight experience, the BC Bike Race. Getting 3rd there. Actually I was amazed by those performances.
Then a harder period came in. Not feeling so well and not being able to ride as hard as I wanted to. Looking for a form when it's not there makes you doubt about a lot of things... in the beginning I didn't want to except it and just went on.. as always :-) But then I had to be honoust and pull out for a bit. My body just needed some rest. Maybe also my head. So I did. And this was really good. At that time I was not sure if it would be better to call the season to an end... Now I can say that I am happy to have been giving it a try to build up towards the championships.
As more often, my coach Pascal Ketterer (Radlabor) came up with a very well thought plan. Specific training, mixed with nice enduro rides, to keep the spirit high, brought the effect we were wishing for. I felt better every week and could pull through those hardcore exercises like I should. Those sprints were killing me sometimes, leaving me dizzy after the last series, but also satisfied and maybe a little bit proud. If there was time to do a second training I could go for an easy spin or better: an enduro ride! Pascal, thanks again! For everything. We decided that after 5 years it's good for both of us to get some fresh ideas and thoughts. We still keep friends of course!!!
So, off-season now. Well off-season is coming to the end as well soon. I feel that I want to and have to start training again. I am really looking forward to the new season, new goals, wintertraining and last but not least: project Cape Epic 2018. Yes, again, one more time! :D
Last but not least: Thanks again to my team, Craft-Rocky Mountain and all the partners, Rent a Plant, family, friends... Without you it would not have been the same. Let's make this work for 2018 again. It will be great!!
Stay tuned. Hielke!