As I continued my stay in Europe, I received a very warm welcome into the home of some of my wonderful German friends. I spent the week relaxing and re-setting while soaking up the beautiful scenery in their little german town. Everyday gave me another chance to enjoy some of the unique experiences that Europe has to offer. The paths throughout the forest allowed me to spend hours on end riding through the glowing green trees and off the bike there was plenty of places to go and see, so time just flew by.
After having the perfect week to rest up before the next block of training, I was ready to keep on trucking. My brother and mom arrived that weekend and we traveled on to Bad Wildbad, Baden Baden, Le Bresse, France, and then reached Gränichen, Switzerland. The riding and small discoveries along the way and in each destination is what made the journey so special.
On arriving in Gränichen on Thursday, I had plenty of time to settle in, pre-ride the course, and prepare for the Swiss Bike Cup on Sunday. The vibes were good, with beautiful scenery surrounding us and light rain.
When I hopped on course the stoke level rose even more. The trails were slick, muddy, and so insanely fun. Winding their way up and down through the trees with fairly short climbs and steep technical descents. The course would put the racers to the test and the rain throughout the evening would continue to make the mud thicker, roots slicker, and climbs harder. I was looking forward to the exciting race ahead.
Sunday arrived and the clouds hung above, but the rain held back as I began my race preparations and warm-up. At 12:50pm, a few minutes after the elite and U23 women had begun their battle, I stood on the line with a strong field of junior women. BANG! And we were off.
We launched off the line and I settled in behind the front group. The first climb was long and steady and even though the pace was strong, the riders stayed in a large mass. I could hear the hard breathing of the riders on either side of me as our legs began to burn. As we neared the single track the second surge came, and I squeezed into second as we entered into the mud and slippery roots. The rider right in front of me slipped out of her original line and I used my momentum to ride into first. From there there was no turning back.
Throughout the lap I could see a couple riders close behind, but I just focused on pacing myself and riding smoothly on the technical features throughout the course. I felt confident knowing that my Orbea, Fox fork, Maxxis tires, and Shimano components would allow me to ride full speed on all sections of the course.
Going into the second and third lap I continued to leave it all out there. After each brutal climb I had to reset and remeber to re-focus the mind in order to stay smooth on the slippery roots and technical aspects of the descents. Not only was the course a blast lap after lap, but the cheering was so motivating as the crowd shouted in all different languages throughout every lap. It felt so good to finish the race with my hands in the air after giving it my all in Switzerland.
I was so impressed by the organization, cheering, and course, and was glad I could pull off the win at such a great event. Next up, many more adventures and Bike the Rock in Heubach, Germany!