I have recently come back from a really busy few weeks of international racing.
First I was at the European SUP championships in Hvide Sande, Danemark, and straight from there I took a flight (Billund-Gdanks) and arrived in Gdynia, Poland where the ICF World championships took place from the 7th to the 11th of September.
I arrived in Gdynia on the 4th in the morning and had thus five days before the start of my racing. In these 5 days I took one day off, the first day and then I was in the water every day, twice per day, to get confident with the sea conditions and to try the new 2023 boards we got from Starboard through the Hydrosphera shop.
I was staying in the hotel just in front of the event venue, and for few days I enjoyed a lot the pre race routine of waking up, going in the water, rest, eat well and going in the water again in the afternoon.
My first race has been the Sprints on the 8th. I advanced my heats until the Final B, where between some really fast and powerfull ladies I reached a 5th place. Maybe from outside it could seem like an average result being viceworldchampion in sprint in 2018 and a third place in 2019, but for me was a good result. The level is going up a lot, and there are athletes now training specifically for Sprints. Furthermore I think with all the competitive running and trail running I am doing since 2020 my stroke power in the Sprints has decreased a bit. So to reach the final B was a good result for me and was happy and ready for the Long Distance!
I feel, sometimes the Sprints help me getting ready for a good long distance, you kind of wake up the muscles without being too tired. So on the 9th in the morning I was feeling ready for what seemed to be a really though race. We woke up with rain, wind up to 20-25 knots and cold. The start of the race got postponed a few times as the race directors were waiting for the storm to pass.
This waiting game and change of schedule all the time really put some stress and pressure on me, I was waiting in my hotel room, lay down in bed trying to relax but at the same time trying to be ready and active anytime to start. At 1:15 finally the last announcement: race starts at 2:10 pm for the women.
Time to stand up, going to the beach, pick up the boards, do the ID and board control, and warm up. The sea was too rough to go in the water for warming up, so I decided to run about 20 minutes to be warm before the start.
It was a 4 x 4 laps race with 2k of upwind and 2k of downwind each. I tried to reach the first buoy with the front group and in the first downwind I was in 5th-6th position, together with Amandine and Laura Quetglas. I tried to get confortable with my Allstar and enjoy the downwind and at every upwind leg I push as hard as I could. I told myself many times to not to look back or sideways to avoid falling down, so it was only at the buoy turn that I could see where the other girls were and realised I made a gap and was thus in 4th position at the end of the first lap. I kept this position all the race and tried hard to reach the third girl, Melanie, which in the upwind part I was getting closer, but couldn’t reach her. Big respect to all the girls that finished the race and Espe, Duna and Melanie for the podium!
I think together with Mallorca earlier this season, this has been my favourite race.
The day after the Long distance I was competing in the tech race, where I made it to the final! My body at this point was clearly asking for some rest and couldn’t do better than a 8th place in the final, but..still happy to make it to the final in such a competitive field!
After such an intense week of racing and emotions, I am back home knowing my strenght and my weak points and know where I need to work if I want to improve. Overall I am happy and proud of my self on how I managed to combine two sports at high level, running and SUP and looking forward for the rest of the season!
Photo Credit: Georgia Schofield / Mikk Mihkel