After a busy week, we set off for Alpnach at 5.30 am this morning.
Since the race is part of the Marathon World series, the women had a separate start, 15 minutes before the Elite Men. Since we rode straight into the first ascent and the field was not very large, we started rather „comfortably“.
After about 7 km I took over the lead and soon the field split! From there Ariane and I rode on and set the pace. When I was able to take over the lead again from Ariane, the top male riders joined us and since we were in a trail, they couldn’t pass me! Huber said I should go to the side, but that was definitely not possible, well not without having to dismount! Finally, I was in a race and at the very top of the field! A little further I stopped in all fairness to let them pass, which cost me precious seconds!
Up to the Langis I could ride out 1 minute on Ariane! After that, it was a little bit of undulation, but mostly down to Alpnach! I actually think I rode well and fast, but Ariane was even faster! We pushed on together through the start / finish area in Alpnach on the second loop up to the Ächerlipass! Downhill Ariane rode ahead, but then I always push forward! I just did not want to hang about too much! (this should really be a last hard „training“ before the important World Championships!)
The concrete ramp and climb up to the Schwendi was really steep and we punished ourselves up there! I realized once again that I was a bit stronger in those steep sections and made good progress in the climbs. I couldn’t drop Ariane at all until we reached Schwendi. I tried to increase my cadence a bit and managed to actually open a gap! That motivated me of course and I kept up the pace! I thought that I would need every second in the long descent from Ächerlipass back to Alpnach and to the finish! My plan was also halfway in place…., the gap was bigger and bigger! But I still had to fight, because the rise took longer than expected. When I had almost made it to the top, it suddenly felt a bit „spongy“ on my bike!
I had a „slow flat“ on the rear wheel! I thought that I could still ride to the timekeeping on the Ächerlipass (could be that there is a mountain prize, but actually, there wasn’t!), then fix the damage. I could certainly have gone further, but critically it was still 20km to the finish, the downhill was rough and rocky, and I did not want to risk my rim! So I stopped….“fixing“ my puncture, which unfortunately cost me the 40 seconds that I had worked so hard for previously! Thanks to the „Pepis Noodle“ which worked brilliantly!
I was almost back on the bike when Ariane pulled past me! Annoyingly I had to stop again briefly, because I had forgotten to close the valve securely……. Unfortunately, now the gap was a bit too big for me to try to take her downhill line! A pity!
Two cows also blocked my way, so I had to brake very hard as an emergency stop !! Ariane was just too fast and I had no chance to catch up, with or without these little niggles!
So there it was, I had to settle for the second place today!
Nevertheless, I’m satisfied. The plates I have drafted were better today than next week (at the World Cup), plus, I feel in a very good condition right now.
The plan now is to recover well, so I hope next weekend to arrive rested at the start and then.. it is called FULL GAS….