It's been ages since we raced @ Achouffe because the last couple of years we were still recovering from a German Stage race (Trans Schwarzwald). This year we planned the season a little differently although La Chouffe Marathon wasn't a goal.
It appeared on the program because we recovered pretty well from last weekend and the predictions for Sunday were sunny weather 🌞
We decided not to participate in the long distance as we are in training mode again towards the national championships in September and the Roc D'azur in October. So 65K' it would be.
Saturday evening we left home with the camper so we didn't have to wake up in the middle of the night to make it to the start in time. Getting up around 7 o'clock, getting the numbers, having breakfast and riding our bike.
10 O'clock the start was given so I went hard, but not to hard, because I wanted a solid racepace. Peter started a little slower, but he usually catches up with me anyway. At the start I passed one girl, so I knew there was one still in front of me. I already learned that racing like a nutcase doesn't end well...
I just tried to ride in little groups with hard riding men. Which isn't as easy as it sounds. Most men can't stand the fact women can ride hard too. So they ride against me by passing me hard and try to get rid of me. Most of the time that doesn't work and I catch them back sooner or later. Some have a more irritating style of racing against me: They pass me and then they slow down 😠, so I take over again and they repeat this a couple of times. Luckily after a while they give up or they start racing with me instead of riding against me.
After 30K's I see the leading lady (that's what I thought at that time but later in the race I appeared to be wrong). She crashed, but it looked ok and she wasn't alone. So I continued my race. Still keeping steady pace, because it is a race after all...
At the last feeding zone 15K's from the finish I spotted another woman leaving the feedzone. Not knowing she was racing the same distance as me I make sure I catch her and ask her which distance she is riding. 65K, so I wasn't leading ... I had to make the last 15K's hard. I took the lead, maybe not the smartest tactic but it worked. The first climb she was with me, but the following technical descent I went hard and it seemed to be to hard for her. I looked back and there was nobody to be seen.
Because of last weeks situation, I knew what to do. Ride like hell to the finish.
And YESSSS another win!!!
Peter finished immediately behind me
From Peter: "Sara Michielsens, when I tell you to warm up the first couple of km, I mean warm up the first couple of km. So thank you for letting me chase you during 3hrs... Next time it's my turn. 👀"