As a female cyclist from Norway, the Ladies Tour of Norway has been a dream for me from the day I got my first road bike.
Raised in a small residential area of Halden, with Emilie Moberg as one of my nearest neighbours, I often got a glimpse of her passing by on her bike. Her being 10 years older and this being my first year as a senior, we have of course not had that many training sessions together. As I moved to Lillehammer almost three years ago, to study at Norges Toppidrettsgymnas, the Norwegian School of Elite Sports, this didn’t make it easier to find the time to train together either.
However, both Emilie and her dad often motivated and cheered for us younger girls in our local cycling club. And for those who don’t know, Emilie’s dad, Roy, is the Founder and Race Director of the Ladies Tour of Norway (LToN), now a World Tour Race. I suppose I was always starting to think that I would one day race LToN, even though my results at that time might not indicate that this was going to happen. Two years ago, I was honored and surprised to receive a development grant from Roy and his team – it was such a great moment when I received this at a dinner during LToN 2018.
Last year I got the opportunity to be one of LToN’s Ambassadors, and once more I came close to a World Tour Race and the organization behind it. This race has become one of the most popular events on the Women World Tour, and I believe that the new concept of the ‘Battle of North’ will make it even more popular in 2021. It is really cool to have a new Grand Tour for women with the final stages in my hometown!
I am also very grateful to Emilie to have the chance to ride for Drops this year. When Team Virtu, Emilie’s previous team, closed at the end of last season, conversations started quickly between Emilie and Bob Varney. It was during these conversations that Emilie mentioned that he should check out a couple of young, local talents from Halden. I gradually learned that there was interest from Drops, and after some good results last autumn, it was incredible when I received a contract proposal from Bob immediately after I finished the World Championships in Yorkshire.
I do have high ambitions when it comes to cycling and Drops really seem to be the perfect team for me to develop them with. This impression was further reinforced when I met the rest of the team at our first training camp in Cambrils. I had a good mixture of nerves and excitement the days before I arrived in Cambrils, but the nerves quickly disappeared only minutes after we all first met. Everyone in the group was super-friendly, and my first training camp with the team exceeded all my expectations. One week later I headed back to Norway with lots of gear from our great sponsors, and I was highly motivated for a few more weeks of training before starting my season in March.
Drentse acht van Westerveld was supposed to be my very first race with my new teammates. But as everyone knows, March 2020 became something completely different from what we could have expected. When we returned from the pre-race-prep ride the day before the race, we got the news that all races in the Netherlands and Belgium had been cancelled.
Obviously, I was disappointed that my debut was put on hold. But of course, this was the correct decision when the COVID-19 situation escalated as quickly as it did. Suddenly it was all about searching for a flight back to Norway, and straight into 14 days of quarantine. This global pandemic is frightening and surreal, and we all must contribute according to the guidelines given by our authorities.
Luckily, we are still allowed to ride our bikes in Norway, and I will continue to train hard to be prepared for the point when we are allowed to race again. As there are still a few months until Ladies Tour of Norway is scheduled, I hope that my dream turns into reality, and that we will all meet again here in Halden in August.
Stay home and take care of each other!