When two hours had passed the 3 teams left together for a short run to then transition into mountain biking. The closer we got to the finish the more the tactics were starting to matter. This were going to be a crucial transition, everybody new it and you could really feel the tension as 12 people strived to assemble bikes, change cloths, pack new energy and be ready to take off as fast as possible and faster that the rest. My team got on our bikes and out of the TA first and now it was nothing but full gas to get away. We got a minor gap and fought to keep it, but as the speed was high and my energy low I had a dead hard time to contribute and slowed down the team enough for us to get caught by the others and we were once again a bunch. As this fantastic piece of bike course went on, up and down along great single tracks and gravel roads our rival teams could get a little gap on us in some uphills, but not enough to keep us away once over the top and going downhill. We were fast and technical and lucky or carefull enough not to break anything.
We stayed close and waited for the opportunity to make a push and get away. All of a sudden it was time and we managed to pass one of the teams and started the chase for the first one. Now the finish line was getting real close (for an adventure race at least) and as we reached next check point we could state that we now were in the lead with only a few hours to go. The k's flew by on the quick course.
Not long to go. Still in the lead. Now entering a tricky part of the course, uphill, narrow trails and testing navigation. I always underestimate the last part of the race, feeling like we're so close, almost there, we will be home before dark. But at this part we hit some bumps. With strong teamwork, keeping our cool we made our way trough this maze of dried creaks and rocks, now in the dark of the second night coming.
Oh the relief of seeing the light of the very last check point, but also now it was really time to go, hard. Only 16k left. 16k to catch up the two teams who passed us in the tricky maze. Not knowing how far they were, we gave it all to catch up meanwhile mentally prepping for a sprint.
To cross the finish line is always in some ways a happy moment. But this time it was a bit mixed. So close, we had the gold in sight. To finish on the podium in this race with this competition for me is a big win and a big honor. This is all thanks to the amazing guys of Team Haglöfs Silva and the very strong and never ever failing team spirit.