• Mariske Strauss

2022 XCO World Cup-Nove Mesto na Morave




Life does not always go the way we plan. I have learned this simple fact many times in my life and even though I know this to be true it still hurts when you get knocked down; but if there’s one thing I am good at it’s getting back up. Like my dad always told us- you can hurt on the ground or you can keep riding and pain on the bike, at least that way you are moving forward.


Now here we are, a brand new week, another solo birthday celebrated in a foreign country, gritting my teeth and pushing on through.


This past World Cup was not what I had envisioned. My prep was good and everything was spot on, but with mountain biking and anything in life for that matter, there are uncontrollable things. In this case, it was the weather… more so nature, aka pollen. SO much pollen!

The week started off great and for once we had beautiful sunny weather in Czech, but with that came all the pollen, and I mean all of it. It literally looked like a sand storm, but with pollen. After your training you would literally be yellow… anyway, you get the picture.


Friday came around and it was time to line up for the short track. I did not feel quite myself and was off the back shortly after the start, but I worked myself back into the race. At a crucial point missed the gap and was stuck in no man's land trying to manage the situation and not burn too many matches as I was out of the top 24. It was a nice welcome back into World Cup racing but I was by no means satisfied with the race. This just made me hungry for more.



On to Sunday, I warmed up as per usual and rolled into the start boxes. There is something special about being herded like cattle into a start shoot, weird but amazing at the same time, all on the hunt for glory, all fighting our own battles.


Before long the lights turned green and off we went. I did my best to move up the field but something felt off, it was like I was racing in someone else’s body. I shrugged it off and tried to keep my head in the game, after a shocker of a start I did my best to move up but it was like I was riding with the handbrake up… I wasn’t going anywhere and on top of that breathing got substantially harder. My race became more of a survival game than anything else. I wasn’t going nearly as hard as I wanted to, or knew I could, but as soon as I tried pushing my chest would completely close up and I started going back even more.

I have spent the last two days brainstorming and the only thing I could say is maybe allergies… I know I am capable of so much more but this was just not my day or maybe the Man upstairs wanted me to take a look at my situation and make some changes.


There’s always something to learn in every situation and I choose to see the good in things. So here I am already getting ready for the next race. I will finish my EU trip in Czech with a C1 race here in Zadov. Hopefully, the weather plays along and we get some cleaner air come Saturday.



Till next time, thank you so much for all the birthday wishes and support I have received, it really means a lot and I look forward to seeing everyone back in South Africa.


Lots of love,

M

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