We have been living in a nice hotel in a small Dutch village for a week now. So that we didn't get cabin fever, we took part in a "Wielerwedstrijd" on Friday and Saturday. Trixi (Worrck) and Regina (Schleicher) both took a second place. Easter Sunday we had free. Unfortunately I didn't find anyone to join me in an Easter Egg hunt...
In the evenings I am so bored from doing nothing that I can't sleep. I invited myself to go watch a film with Simone. She is a soigneur for Team Bigla but welcomed me anyway. Our soigneur Sabrina brought a bottle of wine and we watched a DVD.
Monday morning we stood together with 120 other girls in a dark factory hall. The doors were closed, which is good because it was cold outside! We still had 20 minutes. Exactly enough to eat a "Silberling" – Sabrina makes these for us before every race: sweet bread with jelly, cream cheese and banana, wrapped up in aluminum foil, which make is silver. After all, today is the longest World Cup race, it is 140 km to survive.
Shortly after 11 the doors open and a little light comes in. The screen is pushed aside and we start on our way.
In the beginning there is a little time to chat with the other girls. But the fight for position starts at km 30. Just a few more kilometres until the first cobblestones. It is nothing more than a forest path with a lot of stones on it. In between are a lot of holes, or even just sand. The peloton goes through the forest single file. I keep trying the side of the path, but there are a lot of branches down and even more holes, plus the girl in front of me isn't doing so well. So I would rather hop around on the cobbles.
Bottles fly around and we ride over them. Gaps form constantly in the group. A lot of tires go flat. But we are well outfitted with our aluminium wheels and 25 mm tires and all of us are in the first group when we leave the cobbles.
Now we are facing the Mullberg. The hill is not 500 meters long and it is not really the 23% gradient that is the problem. The worst is that on the way up only two bikes fit alongside each other and it always turns into a real traffic jam....
The constant attacks continue. My legs are starting to hurt! One more time over the hill. Six of us approach the finish line, 15 seconds ahead of the field. We are not really co-ordinated but manage to hold our lead to the end.
And when I finally get home at some time, then I will practice sprinting with my training mates!