Martina is doing Tjejvättern, 100 km, and this is her first time doing a bike race. We are curious to hear Martina's thoughts on the challenge and we will follow her on her journey to inspire more women to try out cycling as a sport.  

What is the most difficult thing about cycling and what are you afraid of?

- The hardest thing is the traffic, both the traffic itself and getting lost and not being able to find my way. I worry about getting tangled up with others and not being used to cycling in a group. And then crashing.

- However, limiting myself and NOT cycling will make it worse and feed the fear, so I choose to face it instead. I started cycling without cycling shoes that are attached to the pedals, to get to know the bike and take it step by step. 

The best thing about cycling?

- The best thing is that I feel free and unrestricted despite my knee and back problems that do not show up on the bike.

What sport(s) do you practice and why?

- Right now mostly cycling to take on Tjejvättern which will be my very first cycling race. I feel free and strong on the bike and it keeps my arthritic knee in check.

Give us a background to this particular challenge/competition and what you expect, what is your "why"?

- I have long felt a desire for a real challenge and to train consistently before a race and then feel the feeling when I cross the finish line that will be the reward for the work I put in.

"This will be my first bike race and I know that I will be very nervous and I will probably doubt my ability along the way, but I will do it anyway. The will is greater than the fear and that feeling is powerful."


Do you have any tips on where to start with the equipment and bike? 

- Start with less is more. Buy second-hand and you don't need everything at once. A good helmet, a decent bike and regular shoes and pedals are a good start. 

How have you organized training and coaching?

- I am fortunate to be married to a triathlete and have many friends who cycle and coach. I have learned a lot from them and have also read exercise science and nutrition so have accumulated knowledge over the years as it is my interest. I do not have a specific coach for Tjejvättern but have fixed the passes myself and have spent a lot of energy on long passes to teach the body to keep going for a long time. I use zwift which has a super good interval training. the only thing I have not trained is to cycle in a group but the idea is that I will take me to a cycling club and hang out with them one evening to practice. It's a bit scary...

Describe your training background!

- I have always had a very difficult time getting started and keeping an exercise routine. Due to a lot of mental illness earlier in life, the confidence in myself has not really been there and I have basically given up before I even had time to start. After a brain hemorrhage when I was 37 years old, I began to understand that I want to do more with my life. I have gradually introduced more and more exercise into my life and nowadays I am simply a person who exercises and who needs the exercise mainly for my mental health. Challenging myself in different parts of the training is also a part of showing myself that I CAN. snap those old demons on the nose.

What is a power woman for you?

- A power woman for me is a person who dares to challenge herself despite fears and insecurities. There is nothing that inspires me more than when I talk to women (and men) who tell me about their difficulties with different things and then do it anyway. It is a strength to dare to be vulnerable.

- A powerwoman is also the one who does not compare herself with others but sees that everyone has their own conditions. who encourages, supports and includes. Everyone's equal value is incredibly important to me.

Thank you Martina, it will be super fun to follow you on this journey - GOOD LUCK!

May 29, 2023 — Anna Wretling