National Champs

For those who know me it didn’t come as a surprise when I decided to become a cyclist it was all in from the first moment. I have the habit of going for all or nothing, except for betting, I don’t do that.

To make a long story short, 9 months later I won my first national title in road racing in Iceland. Which I have to say was an amazing experience, so here goes.

Since I started racing in cyclocross, mountain biking and road biking I’ve had one opponent with which I’ve had the most fights. She’s extremely strong, good athlete and has been the best in the sport for a few years. Therefore my goal became to try to beat her this season. Until the nationals which were held on August 9th 2015 I still hadn’t managed to beat her on the road or mountain bike. However, I’d been training hard, waiting for the next race, for my next shot at the win.

This time the course was challenging, 86 km and 1000 meters climb. We started off 6 in a group, pretty soon being only 5. We sticked together, a few strong uphill climbs before the race settled in, the fabulous 5 working together breaking the wind. A bit more than half way there was a turnaround point before heading back. About 15 km from the turnaround was a pretty steep climb which I’d before the race checked out and looked good for making a break for it or at least get the opponents tired.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one thinking that this was a good hill for re-starting the race, so that’s what happen, game on. We climbed the hill at a fast pace, losing my teammate while at it. To my surprise the race settled again after the climb and my teammate regrouped with us. Then it was obvious, the race results were up to the final uphill sprint.

Until the final km we sticked together taking turns in breaking the wind. In the last few kilometers everyone started preparing for the final push. When finally saw the hill my heart started pounding, this was it. Me and my main opponent came up to the approximately 2 minute climb almost side by side. She, the national champion started off stronger while I held a steady pace and soon saw her power fade while mine was steady. So I kept going, when side-by-side again she started breaking her line, pushing me to the side, forcing me to pull back and start off again on the other side of her. This happened 3 more times so I didn’t get the chance to climb steadily and finish the sprint. The 4th time it happened it was only a few meters before the finish, then I decided it was now or never and gave it all, left the course for a second to be able to get beside her, pushed through the end, finishing only a few centimeters before her in one of the most exciting sprints in the history of road racing in Iceland (so I’ve been told).

When the adrenaline finally wore off (yes, I also cried after the race, mainly tears of joy) and I managed to think about the race, the win, the joy I realised to my surprise that the best part of winning was not the victory itself. It was being able to celebrate with all the amazing people who’ve believed in me and supported me. You know who you are and you have made it worth it!

This race was one of the biggest adventures of my life, thrilling and a great reward for all the hard work this winter!

Björk Kristjánsdóttir