Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Dolomiti Superbike, Italy

Last Sunday I raced the Dolomiti Superbike in Villabassa, Italy. This was the host of the 2008 World Marathon Championships - my first ever international race. It's such an amazing place and race that I couldn't wait to go back. I absolutely love to be in the mountains: the air, the buildings, the cows (and bells), the lakes, the climbs, the spectators........ I love it all. This is one of the nicest mountain regions I have ever been to and I highly recommend it.

Two of my great loves: Mountains and my bike

It was a great view from our hotel

The race is certainly a challenge. It covers 120km and 3822 metres of climbing. It's mainly fire road or asphalt, but there are a few nice single track sections and the final descent to the finish line is a lot of fun :-) :-)

Click the image to enlarge

The day before the race I met up with Liz Scalia (2007 British National Marathon Champion). We rode the final 20km of the course together and then went for pre-race food and coffee :-)

Coffee with Liz Scalia (Mongibello CHIX)

The race started at 7.30am which meant a 5am start for me and a more respectable 6am start for Dave. I made the mistake of warming up behind the start line. This meant that I had to find my way around the queue of 3600 riders to the front starting grid. What an amazing sight! The elite male riders were called up first and then the elite women.

I had a really good start and found myself riding the first climb in the lead with Birgit Söllner. Around half way up the climb I picked up the pace and I managed to gain a small lead over Birgit. With about 200 metres to go Erica Dicht passed me. She took 1st place for the mountain prize and I passed through in 2nd place. I managed to catch and pass her again at the bottom of the long descent. The course followed the river for about 15 km until the next climb and I was able to build a small lead over Erica. However, not long into the next climb Erica passed me again. She is like a rocket up hill! Once again Erica took 1st place and I took 2nd for the second mountain prize.

On the next long climb I looked back and saw that Pia Sundtedt was closing in on me, and at 60km she passed me. She reached the top of the climb about 100 metres ahead of me which meant I took 3rd place for the final mountain prize. At the bottom of the long descent I could see that Pia wasn't too far ahead, but she gradually picked up the pace and I didn't see her again.

At 90km the last big climb of the day started. It was here that Birgit rejoined me. We climbed together for about 5km until I was finally able to pull away for the remaining 5kms of the climb. However, with 20 km to go she was able to make up ground and give me company once again. Yikes! I knew that I had to dig really deep to hold her off and hang on to 3rd place. I put the power down and tried not to look back! As I approached the final corner to the finish line I looked over my shoulder. I couldn't see her. Phew.

Women's flower ceremony

A HUGE thanks to Dave (my amazingly supportive boyfriend) for competing in the feedzone race. He made it to all 5 feed zones with time to spare :-)

Women's prize giving

1 Erika Dicht (Swi) Wheeler IXS Swiss Team 5:44:05
2 Pia Sundstedt (Fin) Craft Rocky Mountain 0:05:25
3 Sally Bigham (GBr) Topeak Ergon Racing Team 0:11:39
4 Birgit Söllner (Ger) Team Firebike-Drössiger 0:13:50
5 Barbara Kaltenhauser (Ger) Team Radsport-Oberland-Stevens 0:18:25
6 Katrin Schwing (Ger) Trek 0:28:20
7 Michela Benzoni (Ita) Lissone MTB 0:34:37
8 Elena Giacomuzzi (Ita) Team Caprivesi 0:34:44
9 Barbora Radova (Cze) Studio 2001 0:37:35
10 Carol Rasmussen (Den) Spurtstark 0:53:53

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