Saturday, 2 May 2015

Lidingöloppet MTB

Result: 31st place (overall)

Bike: Trek Superfly 9.9 SL, Fast Trak S-works/Rengade S-works 2.0 - 1.7bar

Lidingöloppet MTB is one of the most popular mountain bike races in Sweden. Most of the Swedish Elite riders take part. This year was exceptional with some really big hitters having signed up for the race. The course is a very hilly one with lots of climbing. The tracks are mostly jogging trails with tricky turns on loose gravel. Very little singletrack but also few gravel roads.
I took part in the race last year and perhaps did one of the best results of the year, placing 11th.

Lidingöloppet MTB

Race story:
The trails in this race are mostly quite even with few bumps, this in combination with a lot of climbing made me decide to take the hardtail together with the quick rolling S-works tires. As I had problems with burps in the last race I made sure to add a bit more air to the tires than I usually run.
The start went well and I was quite well placed after the first few kilometers. There was some chaos and confusion going into the first steep hill. I passed people and I got passed. But after a while things settled down.
I tried to find a good group to ride with but ended up doing the first bit on my own. After a while a group of some 3-4 riders formed. However it ended up being very uncooperative. People would race up hills, gaps would develop, and then no one wanted to pull in the quick flat sections. I ended up doing a lot of work myself, by pulling people over the quick and flat sections and closing gaps when riders would sprint up hills and then just slow down as soon as they got to the top. I saw the next group just a few hundred meters ahead but the cooperation in our group was so bad that we never started gaining any ground on them.
After about half the race we started getting some rain and that increased towards the end of the race. Conditions became a bit more slippery.
With about 20km remaining we were caught by two riders who were going really fast. A larger group of some 6 riders developed for a while. The pace went up but towards the end of the race I had to let them go. Our group split up with three riders going ahead of me and two riders dropping of behind me. I ended up doing the last 10km on my own, but always under pressure from behind.
I finished the race in 31st place. Now this doesn't sound very impressive but keep in mind that this was overall (no categories) and a lot of good elite riders took part. I finished the race 2 minutes faster than last year.
I'm a bit unsure of if I did a good race or not. Heart rate data shows quite low numbers. I think the main problem was that I had to do almost all the hard work myself during this race and that no good group developed.

Sometimes it's hard to find a good pace and group to ride with

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