Right is not the same as left. It was the correct route choice, and almost excellent execution. Until the very last moment. The route to the first control was interesting. I saw the best route, and took it, assuming the 40 starters before me would have made a nice shortcut. I was right, a nice motorway led to the path with the control. All that was needed was for me to turn left. The path however, was much smaller than the motorway I was on, and so I thought it was an adjoining shortcut. I went right/straight ahead and then met a larger path. I turned left. No control. A quick relocation and I understood my mistake. 40 seconds gone straight away.
After my win yesterday, I was mentally fatigued in the evening, and struggled to feel any kind of race motivation. A small chat with HJ, got me more in the mood, so much that I dreamt about the race. By the morning and I was slowly feeling increasingly ready. A different challenge to the day before where I spent all my energy calming myself down. Once at the event however, I was raring to go, and had to confine myself to the housecar for some hours before I could start to warm up.
The area for warm up was limited, and sunny with little shade. I sat on the rollers for a bit in the shade before heading to the pre-start to embark on the 3km ride to the actual start. I still feel like the underdog of these races, and was afraid I wouldn’t make it to the start in time. Now, such irrational thoughts are funny. How could I NOT make it in time?! 3km in 20mins. Even a runner could do that!
The mistake kicked me into gear, I got into the zone and took the rest of the controls cleanly. It seems that my training the last months has paid off and my navigation is now almost at the same standard as my speed. Unfortunately some old habits of screwing up control 1, are creeping back. I am sure the next 5 weeks will see me fix this in time for WOC. Actually, I am probably just too keen and happy to be racing, and thus pedalling too fast! I am sure I could bike some seconds slower and still have good split times, but with safer ‘mental processes’.
There was a small spectator ‘point’ just before the penultimate control. I could hear the frantic screaming of my ‘not-quite-in-laws’ as they shouted in Norwegian. Ride faster. Heia heia heia! Go Emily! As I returned around the corner, and into the final 200m of the course, I could understand from the screams that I was fighting for a good place and that it was close. At the finish I was just 3 seconds ahead of Ingrid Stengard, but with such a large time loss and still 7 athletes left to finish, I was doubtful I would even take a medal.
(In the video above, about the time I flick something off my leg, my heart rate reached a whopping 207. And yet, I was more interested in flicking some bug!) Please don’t watch the video, my accent sounds far too British! But there’s a fun sprint finish in there.
With my watch lapped just after finishing, I was anxiously watching the clock, listening to the commentary and watching for my rivals in the finish. Not entirely sure of their start order, I watched as one-by-one they came in slower.
The final results were me in 1st, just 3 seconds ahead of Ingrid, with Sweden’s home girl Cissi Thomasson in 3rd, 17 seconds back. 4th was taken by Svetlana Poverina, 5th by Hana Garde and 6th by Camilla Sogaard. 6 different nations for 6 places.
Since Hans Jørgen ‘made’ strawberries this evening, I am obliged to write his blog for him. If you watched the interview (above) you’ll understand the strawberry reference. For the last 6 weeks I have eaten strawberries every day, fresh from Norway! There must be something in them 😉 but actually, its become a joke within the family that strawberries make you fast.
HJ had the second last start and was placed between the reigning World Champion Tonis Erm EST, and WOC silver medallist Lauri Malsroos, also of EST. The wait at the finish for HJ was tense. He was also many seconds behind the lead at the first radio control but was able to pull back time, and drag himself up into 2nd place. At the time he took the lead, and I hoped it could be a BenhamKvåle double! But Mr Malsroos put an end to that dream, but taking a massive 30 second lead and having an almost perfect race. His finish line celebration said it all.