Cecilie Gotaas Johnsen learning the art of staying at the front
Cecilie Johnsen (Hitec Products) won the opening prologue at Tour de l'Ardèche last season
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Being a Norwegian and racing already in February/March is one thing. However, it’s a whole other challenge flying down from ski season and snow covered roads to competing and racing in Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands, especially when it's been months since the last time you actually had that chance!
Nevertheless, I was motivated, even though not in the best condition, to do my part for the team.
Already my first Spring Classics season has been an adventure with Team Hitec Products - encouraged by awesome teammates, learning and experiencing as I go. At least I can give some guidance in how to dress for racing in cold weather, arriving from -25 degrees.
In the first races, the tasks given to me from the Sports director, Davy, were clear, 'Cecilie, make sure to stay at the front, and if there is a breakaway, you are there...’
Well, that sounds easy....just stay at the front. I guess no one else is thinking the same???
From MTB cycling with spikes and 'total lack of speed', you are forced to change your mindset - handling the bunch and making the fight for your right to stay at the front.....easier said than done.
In the first races of the season - Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Drentse 8 - I had good practice working my way around and moving to the front AND actually staying there.
But additionally, I had some 'close-up' inspections of hedges, cobblestones and poor roads....no big scratches, but extremely annoying.
Would not happen if I just stay at the front....
But learning I’m learning....the fast and the hard way!
In the World Cup opening race, Ronde van Drenthe, I was to keep myself at the front… and I did, also taking Chloe through the first cobble section.....keeping my position into the next....
Bam!!! Something hitting me, was it the wall? For sure something.
Hmmm - winter-training did not prepare me for that cobblestone efforts.....but at least I stayed at the front.
For each day passing, as I'm exposed to more training on my race bike, besides the roller, and doing more racing, I'm more prepared and in better condition to handle the bunch, moving around, doing cobbles and climbs.
The Norwegian winter dress is about to melt.
Now, I can start performing as well, for my team and teammates because I will be at the front…
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