I knew the stage from 2 years ago. That year I was riding with Alison Sydor and we lost each other halfway into the race. Someone had moved the signs and half of the racers got lost or lost their partners. This year I am riding in the mixed category with my team mate Daniel Gathof, because my good friend Alison unfortunately put an end to her career (Alison, I miss you!). Uphill I am the one deciding the speed and on flat parts I try to save as much energy as possible by pacing. It is not always easy to ride in a groupe with strong men, especially the short uphills. Those really hurt, but it makes things easier if I can sit in the group.
We won the first stage and have a bit more than 5 minutes lead. Rothaus Cube is in the second place with Milena Landtwing and Heiko Gutmann. This year it seems to be a fair battle for the victory. Both Milena and myself are against “pulling and pushing”, which was very common amongst the mixed teams, the man very often pulled and pushed the women, some teams even used tow-ropes! (Before the start, I was a bit afraid that the race would be influenced by this malpractise..).
Now I will try to sleep a bit before I will gor for a massage. Our team staff is taking so good care of us riders. We just have to think about riding our bikes as fast as possible.