Bicycles and babies—that’s my memory of Stockholm. I loved eating breakfast while watching wheels of baby strollers and cyclists roll past. Stockholm is an amazing city with lots of incredible buildings and places to eat. Lisa Norden gave me advice on what and where to eat, and I was able to meet up with a friend, Gabriele Anderson, for a proper Swedish meal. Crazy how small the world actually is – Gabriele lives in Minneapolis, about a fifteen-minute bike ride from where I live in MN. She is a professional runner who was in Stockholm for a Diamond League race. It was so nice to see familiar faces and eat delicious bread, lingonberry jam, herring, Swedish meatballs and more; however, the reason I came to Stockholm was to race.
I was confident in my run coming into Stockholm, but knew I had to swim and bike before I could run. The water was cold – about 15 degrees Celsius. I’ve had a history of getting cold, so Pat Lemieux and Jamie Turner made sure we did everything possible to keep me warm and ready for the race.
I dove in the chilly water with my Blueseventy Wetsuit and Neoprene cap. I was nervous, as I didn’t want a repeat of (a bad swim, like in) Hamburg. I swam the first lap and rushed up the blue carpeted stairs back onto the pontoon. I noticed I was in the front pack and I got a little too excited, causing me to lose focus. As I dove back in for the second swim lap I knew I needed to remain focused as we had another 750m to swim. With about 300m left, I found myself still in the front pack. I tried my best to not let my emotions get in the way as I swam towards the pontoon.
We had a long, uphill run from the swim exit to our bikes (transition was on a cobblestone hill). My body was tired. I knew I had to concentrate as I started the nine lap bike course. On paper, the course didn’t look that bad; however, it was deceiving based on its technical nature with the narrow roads, cobbles, and steep climb (through transition) along with other rollers every lap.
I was thankful for the perfect, sunny weather: the course could have been a lot worse with a bit of rain. It took me a few laps to get in a position within the bike pack I was comfortable with; at the beginning of the ride I found myself at the end of the pack. I knew I had to move up and I forced myself to get into a better position. This was especially important once our front group and the chase group merged. Andrea Hewitt and Vanessa Raw broke off the front on the bike; however, no one else seemed to chase.
I remained calm as we entered T2. I exited T2 first out of our pack–and this was something I’m not used to. I was so shocked that I was first out of transition that I floored it. Pretty soon I saw Hewitt and Raw, and noticed I had a decent gap on some speedy runners from my bike pack. I knew I had to keep a solid pace as I heard Non Stanford was making a move.
Running up the hill on the fourth and final lap, I was elated. I came to Stockholm wanting to execute on the swim and bike; and I was able to have a good enough swim and bike to put me in a position to be in the hunt for the W on the run. Running down the finish shoot and realizing all the help from my coach Jamie Turner, my boyfriend Pat Lemieux, and my massage therapist Beata Komlo was paying off was a phenomenal feeling.
Now there is less than three weeks until the Grand Finale in London. This will be my third year racing on the London (Olympic) course and I have mixed feelings. The course sky-rocketed my career in 2011, but it also served me a big piece of humble pie last year at the Olympics.
I’m excited to race and I am looking forward to battling the other women for the World Champion title. It’s a very tight race for first. I have no doubt it will be an exciting race for the fans, especially with a few hometown GB athletes in the hunt for the overall title. No matter what happens, having three WTS wins to my name in 2013 is more than I could have ever imagined back in January.
I want to give a special shout out to the Specialized Gang (Pieter, Sandy, Benno), who are at every WTS race making sure my bike is perfect. It’s refreshing to see the familiar faces and I know I can always rely on them.
It’s been an awesome year training in Australia and Vitoria with Jamie Tuner and the crew – I couldn’t ask for better training partners. They push me, teach me, and they make me laugh, which makes living abroad easy.
Race Photo: Stockholm WTS Win. Wow! Thanks for the photo, Janos Schmidt
Race Photo: exiting T2. Thank you for the photo, Janos Schmidt
Enjoying an easy spin in Stockholm
Pre race meal cooked by Pat in the hotel room thanks to our travel rice cooker.
Watching the Men’s Race with Pat
Dinner with Gabriele in Stockholm