The race was unlike any other race that I have ever participated in: a fast race, soley on open fire-roads. There were no technical aspects at all, but with that many participants it would not be possible to include singletrails; slower riders rode on the right and faster riders over-took on the left. It was simple and it worked. Riders set off in waves at timed intervals throughout the day, and the elite women set off as a single wave together at 8.30am. The male riders ahead of us were all slower, meaning that we had a head-to-head women only race; faster men had either already started or would start later in the afternoon. I liked this format; I like racing women without the influence of men.
It's not a surprise that Pia Sundstedt (Finland) was the race favourite; after winning this race many times before, she had a clear race tactic which she executed perfectly: a slow start for the first 5km, followed by a series of attacks until the top of the first climb. These attacks quickly broke the field: first four girls were able to respond, then only three, and then just me. As we approached the first timing mat where the winner of the first mountain prize would be decided I was happy to ease off and let Pia cross first - she had after all initiated all of the attacks and, in my eyes, she deserved to take the prize; I had merely followed her wheel.
I thoroughly enjoyed my brief stay in Norway; everyone, including the race organisers and the lovely family who welcomed me into their home, went out of their way to make me feel welcome. As I expected, Norwegian hospitality was excellent. Thank you!
4 Heidi Rosasen Sandstø United Bakeries / Follo 03:17:41
6 Hanne Trønnes Ottadalen SK 03:20:37
7 Borghild Løvset Orkla CK 03:20:47
8 Ingrid Jevne Framstad Hard Rocx/Toten-Tråkk 03:22:43
9 Hege Linn Eie Vatland Flekkefjord SK 03:22:43
10 Mari Trønnes 03:23:05
A huge thank you also to Marian Kopfer who provided me with excellent team support, including mechanic, feedzone supporter, and driver :)