• Mariske Strauss

XCE WC - Paris, FRA

Oui Oui, PARIS!

Last weekend marked a momentous occasion. Racing under the Eiffel Tower! Who would have thought I would ever get to do that, funny how life’s turns set you up for the most amazing adventures if you take the chance and embrace the journey.

This was the 4th race in as many weeks, with a LOT of travel packing and unpacking bikes having become second nature but man my brain and body really felt it race day. Besides all the travel; which I seem to be getting used to, if that is at all possible, we also had the added bonus of reacclimatizing after the hefty altitude trip we did in India. To those that haven’t experienced the joys of altitude, your body takes a beating. Day 3 and Day 5 are usually your worst days, on the way up and then when you return. So what goes up must come down they say… and it felt like I landed on my face this round.

We also had an interesting lodging experience, with the racing in Paris at the same time as fashion week, accommodation was tricky. The organizers were really amazing but the only option was a hostel, so 8 riders and 8 bikes in a room that should actually only house two people was a comic experience. Luckily all of us had been traveling across the planet together for the past 3 weeks and this was the final nail to forge a family kind of bond! Thanks for the fun week, love you guys but glad we all get some space ;)!


On to the racing, it was really not my day. I tried to force my body to wake up and get the job done with numerous Cadence gels but to no avail. You know you’re really tired when you’re still yawning after three gels a packet of Haribo and a shot of Redbull. Desperate times…

I qualified in 7th which was a bit disappointing but I knew I have pulled it off in the past, to be honest, my time trail runs need some more work ;). My ¼ final heat was intense… I raced my heart out and think that completely emptied what was left in the tank. I, unfortunately, did not make the finals and off to the small finals racing on what felt like cadence gel vapors… I slipped out on the final set of stairs before the start-finish and after that, it was a bit of a blur to the finish.

Racing 4 weeks is a push for me, doing it in 4 different time zones over half the planet was a big ask so I am proud of myself. Proud of taking the chance and super impressed with how my body has made it through this incredibly tough season. From a fractured hip to getting Covid twice in three months, finishing off with THREE XCE podiums in four weeks!


Massive thank you to all the wonderful new friends I made, and to all the support from family, friends, and my phenomenal sponsors. Then huge congratulations and thanks to CityMountainbike for this amazing opportunity and racing experience. I can not do this without you, for now, I am heading to see my hubby in West Africa before going back to our beautiful country. See you on the other side but till then I will be decompressing from a wild trip.


Lots of love

M

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