To win the ETU European offroad triathlon Championships was the best comeback I could possibly hope for following my recent knee surgery.
I underwent surgery on my knee one month ago, not holding high hopes of being able to race successfully in Europe again.
My surgeon informed me that my knee was looking good and he was able to repair the meniscus and give the knee a good clean. He also stressed the importance of recovery and using crutches to avoid weight baring in the first few days post this procedure. I was compliant with his strict advice to give myself the best possible chance of recovery. I was grateful to start physiotherapy immediately and was able to join the Aloha Racing Team at Xterra France.
Reflecting on race day at the European Champs I can now see how these small steps were a good build up physically and mentally for me.
Schulchsee is close to my home Luzerm, just a short 2 hour drive. Our accommodation, hotel Barental, was fantastic and the atmosphere amongst the Euro contingent of the Aloha Racing Team was positive and energetic.
I woke on race day morning feeling great! My equipment was in the best possible working condition with a big thanks to my bike mechanic, Dani Schnider, and after pre riding the course I felt everything was in order for race day.
I was not nervous, feeling more excited to get out there and give it my best on race day. The swim was not so great, a fair bit choppy and I missed the opportunity to get on some of the faster feet in the swim.
Once onto the bike I told myself to simply ‘go for it’! Take risks as this would be my only chance to put some time into my fellow competitors and the faster runners in the sport.
The bike was 2 15km loops, not super technical with some steep uphills and one fun downhill.
When I rode past Kathrin Muller I thought that she would hang into me and that we would have a tough battle on the bike together. Kathrin was not attacking on the bike and so I pushed on and also increased my lead to Helena who was holding 2nd position in the race.
The run was 4 2.5km laps, that was the most challenging leg for me.
Once on the run I never looked back. My fellow team mate and athlete I coach, Karin Hansen, came past me on the run. Karin was one lap behind me and really encouraged me to push hard. It helped and allowed me to keep up the pace on the run.
Getting closer to the finish line was such an amazing feeling. The realization that nobody could catch me on the run and that I was going to win the European Champs was elation beyond belief.
The father of my Swiss friend, Diana Luthi, handed me the big Swiss flag on my way to the finish line. Helena held on for 2nd, Carina 3rd and 4th place for the current cross triathlon World Champ Kathrin. Respect that Kathrin gave me a big hug and told me that I deserved the win.
Betta in 8th overall and winning her age group, Lou 11th, Karin 12th and Franziska 2nd in her age group and winning the open race.
A huge shout out to our Aloha men and supporters who were out on the course all day cheering and supporting us, great job everyone!!
A day, a race, a title forever.