Result: 12th place
One Weekend, Two Races
Knowing I was not in good shape I decided to do two races this weekend. Yesterday was the shorter XCup race and today I had the marathon Mörksuggejakten. Today's race was of higher priority and normally I might hesitate to race on the day before, even though it was a short one hour race. However I knew that my form was not good and so I decided to do both races in order to get a good buildup to the Swedish Marathon Championships which are in four weeks.
Mörksuggejakten is one of the races that I do like because it has a good starting climb. However you need to cover about 1.5km through the town of Rättvik before you get to the climb and that part can be a bit hectic.
After the climb there's a long downhill section which is very good to take quickly because after that you have quite a long stretch of quick paved roads, gravel roads and double track where it's good to be in a quick group.
The last part of the race is largely on singletrack through forests, however it's very quick riding. Quite a lot of roots in places too.
The Start of the Race
On the starting line the officials kept telling us over and over that there was going to be a pace car in front all through the town of Rättvik and that there was no overtaking allowed.
As the race started I got a good start over the first small grass hill. The white Mitsubishi pace car was at thte front of the wheel but almost as soon as we reached the paved road leading into town there was a red race official vehicle that somehow ended up to the right of the field. In order to get out of the way it stopped halfway down a ditch to the right side. It looked very strange.
Then just seconds later there was a big crash just to the left of me. Five or six cyclists became entangled and went down. I managed to avoid the incident and went around.
In spite of the instructions people were still overtaking quite crazily on sidewalks and all over the place.
The Starting Climb
I didn't come to this race in the best of shape, or the lightest of weight for that matter. I was at around 75kg before the race. So getting to this starting climb I did not have high hopes. I saw Robert Eliasson and Jakob Håkansson not far in front of me throughout the climb but I didn't manage to get any closer and I didn't see either for the rest of the race.
Looking at Strava I was actually slower up the climb than last year:
The First Half
Knowing my limitations I did try for a strategic race. This went well as we did form a good group as soon as we got out onto the roads and quick trails of the first half of the race. We were hunting down cyclists in front of us and the pace felt good.
The Second Half
Even getting into the second part of the race with more singletrack and rooty sections things still felt good. The group kept getting smaller with people dropping off the rear. There were perhaps a couple of cyclists that went off the front whom I was not able to follow.
The last 10km I was starting to feel really tired but managed to hang onto the small group that I was now in. However with some 4-5km to go that tiredness increased a lot and I started getting left behind, also some riders caught up with me and passed me. The last few short but steep climbs were just murder on my legs. In the last few kilometers I fell out of the top 10.