Festival Elsy Jacobs 2013: You Are What You Think

The Festival Elsy Jacobs in Luxembourg was like a roller coaster, with more downs than ups, but, as my tweet before Stage One said:

“Everyday is a new beginning. Treat it that way. Stay away from what might have been and look at what can be!”

923289_589364721081818_369030186_n-2The rainy prologue was supposed to be a 1.8km opportunity for me to stake a place in the general classification. However, not even 500m into the individual time trial, my wet brakes didn’t grab and I crashed on the first corner. The most important part of the time trial wasn’t the fall, but how I got up afterwards. Luckily, I was unscathed so I made a good recovery, finishing only 35 seconds behind the leader. You win some, you lose some.


I was hoping to start Stage One a little higher in the standings, but I knew I needed to move on from the previous day’s crash and focus on what could be. The whole day I tried to force a break away in order to claim back the precious seconds I spent on the ground the day before. A break never formed, but the bunch whittled down to a group of about 20 by the time we were approaching the finish. I’m primarily known as a climber in Europe, not a sprinter, but I was extra determined after my bad luck during the prologue to make the day count. As we entered the last kilometers, I fought may way onto Marianne Vos’ wheel and I was well positioned to contest the sprint.

A few sideways glances from the normal sprinters made it obvious I was breaking out of my normal role, but as we charged towards the line I out sprinted Katarzyna Pawlowska, Marianne Vos and Emma Johansson to take second in the stage, just behind Georgia Bronzini. I think I really took everyone by surprise, but no one was more surprised than me. Well, maybe my teammate Carlee who joked, “you really mean what you say on Twitter!”


On the last day of the tour I was riding on the high of claiming second in my first bunch sprint but, like a roller coaster, down I went again…literally. I usually avoid bunch sprints because they are dangerous, but with more confidence I fought for a good position. I settled on Marianne’s wheel again and was feeling good to contest another sprint, but I was a little eager and we still had 3 kilometers to ride. Somewhere along the descent to the finish, I lost my position and ended up behind a rider who was taking a few too many risks for my liking. Just as I saw a gap to escape, a piece of road furniture came out of nowhere and took down the girl in front of me. I was next. With only 1km to the finish line, for the second time during the tour I was on the ground. Miraculously, again I was uninjured from the high speed crash and able to finish the stage.

Festival Elsy Jacobs may have been a roller coaster, but had I not gone down (twice) I would never have reached a new high. After my first crash I was really determined to make my mark on the race. I did my best not to focus on what could have been. I treated each stage as a new beginning and, had I not been able to forget my original plan and how it was derailed, I would have never had the mindset to go out of my comfort zone and contest a bunch sprint…once, yet alone twice!

Luxembourg was a great reminder that: You are what you think! Think positively! 🙂 

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