Chocolate against the cold

There are two important reasons why I made sure the World Cup opener in Varese was on my race...

April 2, 2009

The Trofeo Alfredo Binda was the first race in the women's 2009 World Cup circuit, and cold, rainy weather didn't make things easy. The riders all sought their own ways to keep warm, and Lutz reports on dancing cyclists and chocolate.

There are two important reasons why I made sure the World Cup opener in Varese was on my race calendar this year:

1.Last year they presented every rider with a half kilo Lindt chocolate Easter Egg!

2. In Italy it is warm and the sun shine – even in March!

That with the chocolate happened again this year, but the weather....

Race day was 6° C and rainy on Sunday. On the team bus we all sought the right race clothing. Everyone has their own tactic against water and cold. One pulls thin plastic gloves on her hands, the other puts them on her shoes – I decided to eat a chocolate bar! Then I put a CD from our soigneur Sabrina Sonnenschein on the player. The Bacardi song! We turn it up full blast, open the door and dance on the seats. By now even our Dutch rider Suzanne de Goede knows the words. JoDo (our Directeur Sportif Jochen Dornbusch) runs by us laughing, "Help! My girls have gone crazy!"

The song stayed with me the entire race. Shivering with the cold, I worked my way through the field and sang to myself, "come on over, have some fun, dancing in the morning sun...." I was having problems getting into the big ring after the first climb. I reach over the handlebars with my right hand and pull on the left gear level. After a few tries it works fine!

Don't forget to eat! That can be decisive today. I feel for my gel, but my left arm is so cold, it doesn't listen to me. Somehow I manage to get all the gel in my mouth, though.

On the next to last climb, the decision in the race falls. Marianne Vos and Emma Johannson go over the top followed by Kristin Armstrong and ... me. Over the last 25 kms I convince my legs to hold out just a bit longer. We can't catch up to the two leaders, but the podium is still very close. The last traffic circle, only 250 uphill meters to go.

I attack. After 100 meters my legs want to die. Against their will I convince them to go on. Something red appears on my right. Just a few more meters! On the finish line Armstrong pushes her front wheel ahead of mine....

On the bus, Sabrine had to help us undress so that we can head home to Germany. At least it is warmer there!

Next week we will all meet again to ride together over Belgium's hellinge and cobblestones. The Ronde van Vlaanderen – the famous Tour of Flanders – is the next race on the schedule.

A lot of fans don't seem to know that there is also a race for women! An absolute highlight! The fans there are the best, we really look forward every year to the Ronde!

It doesn't matter whether it is hot or cold. And there won't be any chocolate there, but I'll ride it anyway!

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