Me and Maris decided to team up and drive to Tartu to try to win again in the biggest MTB festival in Baltics. Race started well for us as I took first and Maris took second intermediate sprint. But early in the race we realized we came with wrong bikes, I had a full suspension mountainbike, we had no idea the track would be so dry! Even muddy forests that always are tricky with CX bikes and everyone choose MTB bikes were dry enough to do them just fine with gravel bikes and all gravel sectors were hard as termac! I have never seen such conditions here. We were 8 man break early in the race and only 3 of us had MTB not gravel bike… So me and Maris just fastened our seatbelts on gravel sectors where estonians went crazy fast! We had one sector in strava for 3km where we averaged 53km/h! Crazytown. Everyone in break was going full gas all day because Gert Jõeäär and Peeter Pruus (who had mechanical), two strongest contenders missed break.
So break stayed together all day, we could ride away from cx bikes in forests, but it wasn’t worth it since they would cach us on gravel parts. Only 2 guys got dropped, but pace was high and steady until the last 10km, when Estonians started to attack. We both on MTB were pretty tired, so our only option to win was Maris outsprinting 6 man break. I decided in the last 4 kilometers to ride at a steady pace in front so nobody attacks. It was all going good when 700m to go Martin Loo made an attack and rest of the break didn’t react, I was already cramping at time and couldn’t react too, I made a mistake and pulled too hard before. Since nobody was reacting and we wanted to win, Maris had no other option to chase him, so he dragged rest of break to Loo wheel, he catches him with 350m to go, when final sprint was about to start, so he made second sprint right away and came in second, only Jakin could pass him from his wheel. Ahh, so close but so far. It was a fun battle between gravel bikes and MTB bikes and Latvians and estonians! What a beautiful race! We will be back next year to try again!