My name is Elin - A pro cycling lover's reflections

Alex Rasmussen retires

Category: Cycling

Alex Rasmussen has decided to retire in late January after the Copenhagen Six Day race.

The 32-year-old has lately concentrated on Six Day races. He has over 30 national titles on both the road and track, and took a silver medal in the team pursuit at the Beijing Olympics. Rasmussen also won gold in the scratch race at the World Championships in 2005. In 2009 he won two worlds titles, the team pursuit and Madison, with Michael Mørkøv.

Making your dreams come true

Category: Cycling

Since I was 18, my dream has been to participate in a triathlon. However, I had to fight hard to make it come true. I was young, had poor self-esteem and my self-confidence in sports was low.

My first step towards participating in a triathlon was to start swimming again. I used to swim when I was younger, and I was pretty good at the time, so returning wasn't a big problem really. I know I could improve further if I joined a swim team, and that will be my future goal. However, so far it hasn't been possible, because of work and the huge renovation of the local swimming pool complex.

Cycling improved a lot after moving back from Tallinn, as I could suddenly use my racer again. I bought my Focus Culebro in September 2013, and it really was the perfect first road bike for me. It behaves like a carbon fiber bike, even though it has an aluminum frame, and it has Ultegra gears. So it really is a nice bike. You can see me participating in a local time trial underneath.

Three years ago, I also started to run. I'm not joking when I say that I could not even run 200 meters before I lost my breath completely. However, nothing is impossible. When I want something, I can do it.

A friend and I decided to make a trip to a recreation area outside of Tallinn. My friend was not exactly used to run either, but found it just as hard as me. So we started to run. 100 m at first, before my friend’s shoelaces needed to be tied again. Then we ran 200 m, walked 100 m, ran 300 m, walked 100 m, ran 400 m, walked 100, and suddenly I saw this sign saying how far we had run/walked, and I decided that we would not stop running before we had finished a full kilometer. So we did.

After that day I can finally run. I don’t really know what happened, but I believe we both learned how to breathe that day.

When I moved back to Sweden a few months later, I continued and have done so ever since. Not saying it has been easy. In reality, continue to run has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I don’t want to give up. I want to continue, because I am proud of proving to myself that I am a runner. In 2015, I participated in my first sprint triathlon, and also an Olympic distance triathlon. And I continued with an Olympic distance again this year. I also participated in my first ever half marathon run, and won the local ladies’ cycling cup (taking one victory and two second places). This year, I would want to improve further. I want to become a stronger and faster swimmer. I will work off my panic to cold seawater. I will work assiduously to become an even better cyclist, and I will not stop fighting when it comes to my running. Before I used to have a group of girls who I ran a lot with, but due to misuse of powers and bad behavior from the head of the runner’s group, most of the girls have stopped training with the group, and personally I feel the need to find a new, friendly group. I like running with others, but I want to be threated right.

Anyway, the Merida triathlon bike is my newest bike purchase. So far, I have not used it so much, as I have had so many other things to do, and currently it is impossible to use it outside, due to the amount of snow and ice. I have to wait for spring, but I hope that we will become good friends.

Elin experience stunning cycling in Japan

Category: Life

Besides working in a bike store this year, I have also had the opportunity to travel to Hong Kong, Macau and Japan. Those are three countries / autonomous territories that I have never visited before, and where I honestly did not think I would ever go. However, I was the happiest girl alive when I got the trip as a birthday present. And it did not get worse by the fact that I had the best company, and that he had visited Japan several times before and could therefore guide me around. I truly do not believe that the trip would have been so easy without Oskar.

We spent our third day in Japan in the saddle. We borrowed two women's bicycles by our friend Jay's sister-in-law. Coming from Sweden, the main problem was dealing with the left-hand traffic, but I have to admit that it also took a lot of mental energy to sit upright on a bike. I'm accustomed to a sportier seating position.

It took around an hour before I could relax a bit more and in the end, I must say that it was fun to ride around the suburbs of Tokyo and see new things. Dealing with left-hand side traffic was good to learn, especially as we would later head out on a longer trip.

As Oskar had already been in Japan several times, we decided that it would be fun to do something completely new. We both enjoy riding our bikes, and when we say a bike route called Shimanami Kaido. It begins on Honshu in Onomichi City, then leads across the six islands of Mukaishima, Innoshima, Ikuchijima, Omishima, Hakatajima and Oshima, before ending in Imabari City. Compared to many other bicycle routes around the world, this one was well marked and maintained. For example all the ramps leading up to bridges were built at small inclines so that intermediate cyclists can climb them.

We started in Onomichi; a small city located an hour's train ride from Hiroshima, on our borrowed Giant road bikes.

The staff in the bike shop was really nice and service-minded. The girl, who appeared to be the only one speaking some English, helped us with everything we needed, even when I had to change bikes because it was too big. It was very nice of them to help, because they really did not have an aluminium road bike my size, so they gave me a carbon bike. It was still too big, but much better. It's hard being a tall girl with short spine.

The sun was shining, and it was a lovely day to be out on our bikes. In total, we rode 90km that day, including a considerably difficult uphill, and the absolute worst downhill I've ever experienced. It was steep, frequent turns, but worst; the road was practically a dirt road, as it was poorly maintained with potholes everywhere and lots of gravel. Yuk! (However, that road was not part of the normal bike route, so only for daredevils!)
I'm too used to the nice Swedish roads. I need to travel more, don't you think?

During the day, we also had time to eat ice cream and dip our feet in the ocean. It was a great day.