After two long days at the EWS-E in Zermatt, where I spent more than 4h per day on the bike, I was very tired on Saturday after the race. Instead of doing a pre-race-effort on the race track in Langendorf, I decided to take a restday.
The conditions on race day were extreme. It was raining non-stop and the temperatures were not very high. Personally I was really happy about the weather, because racing in mud is one of my strengths.
But on the first two laps I didn’t feel good at all andI was in a group in the top 15. The conditions became more and more extreme and each of us riders had to fight with “worn” brake pads and visibility problems.
At exactly the right moment I managed to catch up with the chasing group and immediately rode forward to the leading group. Motivated by this catch-up race and intuitively I attacked there again. With three and a half laps to go, this was a risky move but at that point it felt right.
I quickly managed to distance myself from my opponents and it turned out that I could ride much better lines on my own and I even had enough grip on the climbs with my Schwalbe Racing Ray tires.
So I started my 45 minute solo escape and fought mostly with the dirt in my rear derailleur and the decreasing brake pads.
I could hardly believe it, that I won my first international XCO Elite race.
What a week: On Friday I started at my first EWS-E and on Sunday I could win my home race.
The bad weather made the race extremely confusing and I didn’t know for sure until the end if I was really leading the race. In the last tech-zone before the finish I finally got the confirmation from some supporters, that I was leading the race with more than one minute.
Now I just tried to cross the finish line safely and could hardly believe, that I could really win my first international Elite XCO race and even beat several World Championship medal winners.
I definitely used the difficult conditions to my advantage and also attacked at the right moment. The easiness I’ve had for the last few weeks now, I’ve been missing since last season. I don’t really know how it happened, but it feels really great and I like to take that feeling with me into the last part of the season.