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September 6, 2023

With the personal blog of Franziska Brauße you gain exclusive glimpses behind the scenes of top-class sport and discover the secrets of her successes in the team with the track cycling foursome.

Let yourself be carried away!


Episode 15, 18.04.2024: Via Toronto to Paris

Friday to Sunday was the last World Cup and therefore the last international track meet before the Olympic Games. We were allowed to compete in Toronto, Canada.

The good news is that we have now qualified and will be sending a team to the Olympic Games in Paris. Individual athletes are still being nominated.

We arrived in Toronto on Monday just before the competition as some of us were still competing in road races.

The times we set in training were very promising, but we couldn't really put them into practice in the competition and finished 5th in qualifying, which meant we had to race against the 8th placed team from Japan in the next round.

We learned a lot from the heats and will take that with us for the 2024 Olympic Games.

In the two-man Madison on Saturday, I rode with Lena this time. It was our 3. Together race. But it went quite well. In the end we came 11th - which unfortunately does not quite reflect how we rode.

As we didn't fly home until late Monday night, we still had time to see Toronto.

Now we have to learn from our mistakes and do better next time!

Episode 14, 29.01.2024: Of victories and close calls

I hope you celebrated the New Year in style! For me it was full throttle right from the start - off to Frankfurt Oder on the 2nd of January and after an exciting 6 days on to charming Apeldoorn for the European Championships.

In the team pursuit we really made a big step forward compared to last year and proudly took 3rd place - a triumph for our team and a great start for 2024, true to the motto "Moving Forward".

Sunday was really tough. First up was the individual pursuit qualification, which I managed to win. However, the final against the talented British rider Josie Knight was closer than I would have liked. I lost by just 0.003 seconds. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but that's part of cycling.

The Madison was waiting for me immediately afterwards, so no time to dwell. We put up a good fight, fighting for the front places, but sometimes just missing out on the points. In the end we finished 7th.

After the European Championships we rushed to Bremen for the "Six-Day Race", which was shortened to four days this year due to the clash with the European Championships. Once again Lin and I finished on top of the podium after 4 races - a wonderful finish.

There was hardly any time to take a breather as we had to drive straight home after the exciting race. But the very next day it was time to pack my bags for the long-awaited training camp on the sunny island of Mallorca.

As you can see, I've been travelling a lot again - but that's part of the job and I love every minute of it!

Part 12, December 20th, 2023: Between flying high and challengesn

After my last race, I took some well-deserved time off and spent 11 days on vacation in Lisbon with my boyfriend - a much appreciated break to recharge my batteries and regain new energy.

But soon it was time to get back in the saddle and start preparing for the new season. I took the first steps towards this with the training camps in Spain. First on Mallorca, where I trained intensively with the national team, not only on the road but also on the track. I then made my way to Calpe, where the team stepped up the intensity of the training. In one week, I completed an impressive 28 hours on the bike, covered over 700 kilometers and added strength training to the mix - an impressive example of the positive energy and determination to keep getting better that characterizes the Berghof team and embodies the "Moving Forward" philosophy.

From Spain, I went straight to Switzerland for the last track races of the season. I was pleasantly surprised on the first day when I triumphed in the omnium - a multi-discipline event consisting of four disciplines - and left the current world champion and the Olympic champion from the USA behind me. A high-flying performance that was overshadowed on the second day.

My energy levels waned and I found myself at the back of the field. An unfortunate incident in which two riders collided in front of me led to my crash. Pain in my hip and a broken helmet were the visible signs of the accident. I was lucky that no more serious injuries were found at the hospital. With a mixed feeling of success and misfortune, I made my way home.

Despite these challenges, I can look back on some impressive highlights from my 2023 racing season

  1. Vice world champion in the single pursuit
  2. European champion in the single pursuit
  3. Victory in Tuscany

Apart from the races, the Berghof Oktoberfest, a celebration with Berghof employees from all locations, was of course another highlight!

Now it's time to test my patience and let the injuries heal. But with a clear goal in mind - always moving forward, always improving - I am looking forward to the new year full of confidence. The challenges of sport are like Berghof itself: Innovative, diverse and driven by an unwavering will to move forward.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Franzi.

May 2024 bring new heights and fewer falls :-)

Part 12, September 8th, 2023: Place in the sun

I didn't have much time to come to terms with the emotional roller coaster that was the Track World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland (see episode 11).

Contrary to the original plan, my team nominated me for the internationally highly regarded Tour of Tuscany, because the originally planned lineup was not possible due to illness.

So it was straight back to packing and hitting the road with my BMW in the Berghof "Moving Forward" design. In Austria I met up with the team and together we went on to Italy in the team bus.

Studying the individual stages of the Tour of Tuscany, I knew right away – one of the day's sections was tailor-made for me: a 2.5 km long (or rather short) time trial, exactly my distance.

So despite the burning heat, I have a cool smile on my face as I roll off the start ramp – well planned by the organizers for the sake of dramaturgy – as one of the last starters.

Everything is working out great for me and I can demonstrate my strengths as I had hoped. I set the fastest time and can wait for the other racers at the place in the sun – the so-called "hot seat", the chair on the podium where the current fastest racer can sit and wait to see whether her best time will be beaten.

A short time later it's clear: my best time has held, no other racer has been faster than me. This means that my first international victory in a road race is wrapped up – and as the icing on the cake I also get to wear the jersey of the overall leader. What a huge joy!

The next few days I'll be completely at the service of my team again, because team spirit and the optimal combination of individual strengths are the be-all and end-all for us – just like at Berghof.

So I work a lot in the wind to bring my teammates into a promising position before the key points of the stages (mostly mountains). In this way, thanks also to my help, we are able to achieve a few more good results.

The reward for our joint efforts: At the end of the tour, which was also very demanding due to the high temperatures, I was allowed to climb the podium once again – as part of the "best team." Mission accomplished!

Speaking of mission accomplished: A few days later, the next important date was already on my racing calendar – the "World Tour Race" in Plouay (France), named after our main sponsor Ceratizit.

Of course, our team had a lot of plans for this race and we came up with an elaborate strategy to present ourselves in the best possible way. My task: I should try to get into one of the early breakaway groups that seek their salvation in the escape right at the beginning of the race.

Only a few kilometers after the start, a rider successfully starts an attack. I attacked shortly thereafter and joined her. Shortly thereafter, another rider succeeds in an attack, and we now give all we have as a trio to ride as long as possible alone in front of the large field.

We harmonize well and together gain a maximum lead of six minutes over the peloton. After about 100 kilometers, however, my strength slowly fails me and I have to let my two fellow riders go. As a track specialist, such long distances are not really my cup of tea.

When the fast peloton catches up with me, I can't keep up the pace after the long solo ride and have to end the race prematurely. Mission accomplished again!

Apart from that, our strategy works out perfectly and my teammate Marta narrowly missed the victory with 2nd place.

Part 11, August 11th, 2023: Everything had started so well…

Even though I won a medal in my first competition – I am still not satisfied with this world championship.

But first things first.

We (in the photo: the German national team track with all the coaches) met as always before the most important competitions for joint training in Frankfurt/Oder. Here we spent a week putting the finishing touches to our training and then traveled together to Glasgow (Scotland) – to a world championship the likes of which cycling has never seen before.

Because in Glasgow, for the first time, almost all races for medals of the different cycling disciplines took place in parallel (cycling ball, artistic cycling, BMX, MTB, road, track, paracycling).

This meant that we all had to adjust to new, unfamiliar procedures. For example, we could not warm up inside the track as usual, but had to move to a separate hall. The schedule was also different than usual and we had to park our track bikes in a separate hall if we didn't need them on one day.

In Glasgow, the first competition was the individual pursuit – and not, as usual for all of us, the team pursuit. Of course I wanted to defend my title (see Part 3), preferably with a new world record time.

But unfortunately it didn't go as smoothly for me as in the last competitions. I didn't really get into the race in the qualification, started too slowly, then gave too much gas....

Nevertheless, I kept my nerve and made the best of the situation – in the spirit of "Moving Forward." It wasn't enough for the longed-for world record (because everything just has to be right for that), but at least for the grand final for gold.

In the final, I quickly realized that there was no match for my opponent – the world record holder from America. Nevertheless, it was a nice start to stand on the podium at the award ceremony and get the silver medal.

However, I didn't have much time to celebrate, because the next morning it went on with the team pursuit. Unfortunately, things didn't go as well there as they had recently. We had difficulties to find the right rhythm and stayed behind our own expectations with 6th place in the qualification.

So we decided together to change the team's personnel a bit for the decisive heats. Unfortunately without the hoped-for success: Things didn't really go better in the new constellation, rather the opposite. One of my teammates couldn't keep up with our pace on the last kilometer and we had to wait for her, because the last rider triggers the timing.

So we had no chance to build on the good results of the last few months. In the end we were far away from the medal we had hoped for with 7th place.

But we still have one year to develop together as a team until the Olympic Games in Paris. I'm still confident that we can be among the front runners there again.

After this disappointment, it was understandably difficult for me to really get into the race in my last competition in Glasgow, the two-person points race. 11th place isn't bad, but it's no reason for exaggerated jubilation either.

We will now let the experiences sink in – and then learn from the competitions at this world championship in order to hopefully be able to be part of the award ceremony more often at the next races.

Part 10, June 20th, 2023: Champion of (almost) all classes

Slowly but surely, this season is getting into the hot phase. At the beginning of August, the track world championships will start in Glasgow (Scotland). Together with my trainer and support team, I have focused all my training over the last few months on this big goal. After all, this is also about qualifying for the event that everyone is already looking forward to: the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

In Glasgow, I'll be competing for the first time as defending champion in the single pursuit – that's naturally a very special motivation. And with our partly newly formed foursome, we are back among the absolute world leaders in time for the World Championships (see last episode). That's why we want to reach for the medals here as well.

So shortly before the season's highlight, the tension is rising, of course. The German Championships in Cottbus (June 14-18) were just the right form test. And this test was more than positive.

In seven different competitions I won six medals: four times gold and once the silver and once the bronze medal. Champion of (almost) all classes, really amazing!

It was a special feeling to start again with the world champion jersey in the single pursuit. Hopefully I will be able to defend the title and wear this special jersey for another year.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Part 9, April 27th, 2023: Back among the absolute world leaders

We have done it: Our partly newly formed German foursome is back among the absolute world leaders. At the World Cup in Canada, we are back in the grand final for first place for the first time. But first things first.

Canada? Yes, you read correctly – from the road races in Belgium and France (see last episode) I first went for a "sprint stay" to my home town of Eningen, where the Berghof Group headquarters are located.

I had exactly one day at home before I went to Frankfurt/Oder to train together for the next big event: the Track World Cup in Milton (Canada). By the time I had finally unpacked and re-packed everything, this day was already over...

Although we had to make another change in our formation due to the illness of a teammate, we noticed already during training that our new foursome was harmonizing better and better.

We set up a suitable tactic and fly highly motivated to Canada. At the airport, again, we have to wait a long time – but this time, thank God, all the luggage arrives with us, not like at the last World Cup in Egypt ;-) (see episode 7).

Already in the qualification it goes very well for us, we can set a first exclamation mark with the third best time. But it gets even better: Together with our coaches, we find some small adjustments to improve our time even further – after all, that is exactly our goal, in the spirit of "MovingForward".

And this concentrated detailed work is paying off: Our partly new team succeeds in reaching the grand final again for the first time at a World Cup. We again set a top time in this all-important heat – but at the moment the experienced foursome from Great Britain is still a bit faster. So in the end it is enough for us to get 2nd place.

I am sure that if we continue like this, we will soon be able to celebrate our first big victory in this new formation.

Things are also going better and better for me in the two-person points race. Although the race in Canada is very hectic and there are many crashes, my partner and I keep our nerve. We put all our eggs in one basket at the end and launch an attack to secure the all-important final classification. We did it! Thus we secure a strong 5th place in this world class field.

The reward for our efforts: Before the return flight we still have enough time to admire the world-famous Niagara Falls. Simply fantastic!

Part 8, April 17th, 2023: Endurance test for our washing machines

First we have to grit our teeth, then our washing machines had to withstood a crucial test…

After the Track World Cup in Egypt with summery temperatures, the next stops on our packed race calendar ensure that our first tender tan keeps hiding under a thick crust of mud (see photo).

But it's not just the cold, wet and windy weather that makes the next race assignments difficult for me. My race planning changes several times, because team colleagues drop out due to illness or injury and my team bosses ask me to step in at short notice.

So my race program turns out to be much more lavish than planned – and my preparation for the individual races is, of course, anything but textbook ;-)

Special highlights are the two "cycling monuments" Paris-Roubaix with its legendary cobblestone passages and Gent-Wevelgem.

Even though I can't always prepare myself optimally for the individual races, I still give my all to support my team as best I can on the day in question.

In the road races, I'm often in a classic helper role: My job is to ride for our respective favorite, so that she can save her strength as much as possible for the final. As a helper, you are often at the end of your rope some time before the finish and get into the team car – but you still make an important contribution to the team's success.

Cycling is a team sport – and requires not only talent and passion, but also a lot of team spirit. That's why I can identify so well with "MovingForward", the DNA of Berghof.

And team spirit pays off not only at Berghof, but also at our team: We're also getting some top placings for our team in these races. This is how the season can continue!

Part 7, March 20th, 2023: A somewhat different World Cup

Even though the next Olympic Games will not start until the middle of next year in Paris – for our track foursome, this major event is already firmly in sight.

Because every track World Cup is also a qualification race to secure one of the coveted starting places for the 2024 Olympics. So for us, that means there's a lot at stake at the 2nd Track World Cup of the season in Cairo (Egypt) from March 14 to 17, 2023.

Those who follow my blog here closely know that we usually meet a few days before such important events to do some training sessions together – usually at the Olympic Training Centre in Frankfurt/Oder.

This time there is a different plan. We are already traveling to Egypt four days before the World Cup and then want to train together on site. But we've done the math without the host – in this case: the ground crew at Frankfurt Airport. Because while we landed in Cairo on schedule, that unfortunately doesn't apply to our road racing bikes.

Actually, we had planned to train on the road the next day in the morning. Without our road racing bikes this plan unfortunately doesn't work out. And we can use the track for training only in the evening.

But we are not just anywhere, we are in Egypt – the land of the world famous pyramids. So we use the free time gained by this circumstance spontaneously for a sightseeing tour (see souvenir photo ;-))

But we are not here to take a vacation – but to take further important steps on the way to our big goal: the fight for the medals at the 2024 Olympics, in the spirit of "Moving Forward".

That's why, after the pyramid tour, we're going out on the track in the evening for our first training session. Here we have to face a challenge that is unusual for us: Unlike most modern cycling tracks, which are built in halls, the track in Cairo only has a roof and is open all around. This makes it quite susceptible to wind.

After a few training sessions in which we can get used to this unfamiliar situation, things are getting serious. On Tuesday, March 14, 2023, the World Cup in Cairo starts with the qualification of the team pursuit.

And again, like last time at the "Omloop of het Hageland" in Belgium, I have problems with my bike. At the start my rear wheel suddenly slips and as a result the tire grinds on the frame.

"It’s not so serious," I think, not letting myself be distracted and continuing to concentrate on doing my best. But the lap times clearly show how much this handicap slows me down...

It gets worse: After about 2500 meters – that is shortly before the end – there is a loud bang and my rear tire bursts. Fortunately I notice it immediately and can still steer clear without me or one of my teammates crashing. Phew, that was close...

After a short break we take a deep breath and try again. With success: Despite this moment of shock, we manage to set the fourth-best time of all teams.

On Wednesday we race against France for the entry into the grand final. Unfortunately we have to admit defeat and therefore fight against Ireland in the small final for the bronze medal. Yay! We did it! We win this race sovereignly.

On Thursday, my partner Lin Teutenberg and I compete in the Madison, the two-man team race. Roughly summarized: We have good moments and not so good moments. But we even manage to score a few points in this world-class field. In the end we reach a strong sixth place.

So the trip to Cairo not only brought us a great souvenir photo in front of the pyramids, but also important points and many instructive moments for me personally and our team.

We are still on the right track towards the 2024 Olympics - and we'll continue working right away: The very next morning I'm off to Belgium for the next road races.

Part 6, March 3rd, 2023: Double premiere with obstacles

In spring, Belgium is in a state of emergency: It is the time of the legendary cycling classics. Thousands of fans along the routes create a goosebump atmosphere.

Accordingly, I'm looking forward to my first road races of the season: the "Omloop van het Hageland" on Sunday, February 26, 2023 and the "Le Samyn" just two days later.

My team colleagues are already on site. Two days before the race, I arrive by train in a relaxed manner and complete an easy session on the roller trainer in the evening. Because only those who prepare themselves optimally can deliver their best performance on race day.

Before the first race we are always particularly excited. How quickly will we get used to the close riding in the large field and the constant high stress over a very long time?

The weather conditions are good: We start at four degrees and sunshine. But after just a few kilometers I notice that something is wrong with my bike. My right gearshift has come loose, and due to the "vibration track" typical of the Belgian classics with cobblestones and lots of potholes, the problem is literally getting worse by the minute. Really annoying, because we are constantly shifting gears in the race so that the legs are always circling in the optimal "speed range".

There is no alternative: I have to change my bike, even if that costs me valuable time. When I have just fought my way back to the end of the large field after that change alone without the energy-saving slipstream, an attack rises at the head of the field and it breaks up into several groups.

So I'm stuck in one of the rear groups and have no chance to get to the front of the leading group. After 110 kilometers the race is over for me: In the meantime, the time distance between these rear groups and the head of the race has become bigger and bigger and therefore the race control takes us out of the race.

What a pity. Of course, I had imagined the first part of the premiere weekend differently. But as they say: New race, new luck. So: Get up, adjust the bike helmet and fight on – according to the motto "Moving Forward".

At "Le Samyn" two days later, my bad luck on Sunday is quickly forgotten. Today I feel much better and can permanently establish myself in the group of the first 30 riders. A good feeling!

Unfortunately, several of my team colleagues are unlucky this time. Lin Teutenberg, my partner in the points race on the track, is involved in a crash early on and needs a long time to catch up again. Our captain Ariana Fidanza's chain jumps off on another "vibration track" with cobblestones. She has to stop to repair the defect. It costs her a lot of energy to get back into the race after this forced break.

But I'm still in the leading group and Ariana fights her way forward position by position despite her mishap with the chain. So I give everything to bring her together with two other team colleagues in time for the final in a promising position.

We made it! About 10 kilometers before the grand finale, my job is done. Our captain is in a key position at the front of the race with my help and everything looks like she can race for the win.

But 6 kilometers before the finish, bad luck strikes again: Ariana crashes. I'm just behind her and of course I stop immediately to check on her. Thank God nothing worse happened. But the bad luck for our team isn't over yet: As I said, we have two more riders in the leading group. But these two riders also fall - just 300 meters before the finish.

Luck in the misfortune: All fallen riders fortunately get away without serious injuries. So we can prepare together for the next races, where hopefully we will have more luck.

This double premiere with obstacles in Belgium showed me once again: In the races, you learn best as a team how each individual team member can optimally support the others in the team - and how to react flexibly to challenges as a team. Because true team spirit shows itself especially when the going gets tough.

Just the right mental and physical strain for my next season highlight - the track World Cup in Cairo (Egypt).

Part 5, February 16th, 2023

Even though the preparation for the first big test of the new season, the European Track Championships in Grenchen (Switzerland), was anything but smooth - our track foursome, newly formed after Lisa Brennauer's career end, is getting better and better into gear.

I had already written it here in the blog (see episode 1): Before big competitions, we meet a few days beforehand to train together in order to prepare ourselves optimally as a team for the upcoming competition.

That's how we had planned it before the European Track Championships (February 08-12 in Grenchen, Switzerland). But it comes differently: A part of the team cannot train because of illness and therefore does not travel at all.

So we have no choice but to use the two days of training on site in Switzerland even more concentrated than usual. Luckily, this plan works.

We harmonize better and better, improve our performance from training run to training run. And this upward trend continues in the competition. So we make it to the "small final", i.e. the competition for 3rd place.

In the end, it's enough for us to win bronze, close behind Italy and Great Britain. And I am sure that our focused work – in keeping with "Moving Forward", the DNA of Berghof – will soon pay off even further and that we will once again be knocking at the top with our new formation.

Speaking of right at the top: After this success in the team pursuit, I personally had another important competition – the race in the individual pursuit, where I first won the title and thus the coveted jersey with the rainbow stripes at the World Championships in France in October 2022 (see episode 3).

Of course, competing in an international championship in the world champion's jersey is something very special – but it also means a lot of pressure.

After the great success with the team, however, I was very relaxed about the whole thing. In addition, because I'm the favorite, I'm allowed to start as the last rider and so I know exactly what time I have to ride to reach the final for the gold medal.

I manage this time without having to give it my all – and can thus save a few "grains" for the big final. In the final, of course, the motto is full throttle. As at the World Championships, I manage a perfect race and once again win the gold medal. Much to the delight of my family, who embraced me in the stands after the race (see photo).

The icing on the cake: At the award ceremony, my long-time teammate in the team pursuit, Mieke Kröger, joined me on the podium as bronze medalist.

So working with Berghof is not only fun, it also provides an additional boost in sporting terms: World and European champion in the single pursuit, simply incredible!

Part 4, February 6th, 2023: A very special birthday present

How we cycling pros have missed this goosebump atmosphere: After the two-year break due to Corona we finally went around it again in the Berlin Velodrom – at the "Six Days Berlin".

Even though there were "only" three days of exciting competitions for the relaunch of the classic this year: We were all fired up to give the Berlin audience a spectacular show – although for me this motivation was even higher for a personal reason.

Because my father had a very special birthday wish this year: He had asked me to compete in Berlin – so that he could celebrate in the hall with family and friends and cheer me on. Of course, I was more than happy to fulfill his wish.

With this special motivation in mind, I drove fully on attack on the first day. With success: Together with two other riders, I was able to win a lap in the so-called points race and thus collect important points for the overall standings.

For our offensive driving style in all three competitions on this day, my partner Lin Teutenberg and I also received the "Team of the Day" award as the icing on the cake. A perfect start!

On Saturday, the second day, it was my father's birthday - and I was able to give him a very special present. Thanks to the perfect teamwork with my teammate, I won the points race and the traditional trophy, a large bouquet of flowers, went to him. This much is certain: My father and I will not soon forget this birthday.

On the third day, we also harmonized excellently as a team, narrowly missing out on victory with 2nd place in the so-called team elimination race. In the final standings, we also made it onto the podium with third place.

So the form is right for the first big highlight of the still young season – the European Championships in Switzerland (February 8 to 12).

Part 3, October 17th, 2022: What a final!

As the saying goes: The best comes at the end. That definitely applies to the track world championships in France (October 12 to 16, 2022). But first things first.

It's a pity, but unfortunately it was to be expected: Our long series of successes in the team pursuit has been broken for the time being.

Lisa Brennauer – our long-time, enormously experienced team colleague – has ended her successful career after our triumph at the European Championships in Munich. Laura Süßemilch, also part of our successful regular line-up, is still recovering from the consequences of a serious fall. And another regular rider, Lisa Klein, was not at the start either.

So our coach – besides Mieke Kröger and me as regular riders – gave two young up-and-coming riders the chance to prove themselves in a big competition in the team pursuit for the first time.

Under these conditions, we did quite well with the 6th place. This makes us positive for the future of the track foursome. We want to and will of course continue to attack fully and hopefully soon return to our old strength.

A campaign that Mieke Kröger and I initiated for the Nigerian team was also very well received. We gave special time trial handlebars to the four athletes who were competing with normal track bikes – a successful surprise.

Speaking of strength: For me personally, there was still reason to cheer. Because in addition to the team pursuit, I also competed in the individual pursuit in France.

And I actually managed to win the title again for Germany – following in the footsteps of Lisa Brennauer.

The final was extremely exciting: I deliberately started the race very fast and had difficulties keeping up this high pace over the long distance.

Then, one lap before the end, my rival was suddenly just in the lead. But I gave it everything I had in the last half lap and won by a very narrow margin in the end. A victory of the will, fully in line with "Moving Forward".

What a final!


Part 2: September 26th, 2022: This was huge fun!

The Berghof marketing team and I have been looking forward to this day for a long time: On September 23, we exclusively showed the new "Moving Forward" film to the Berghof team in advance at the Berghof Oktoberfest - and thus introduced the DNA of Berghof and me as its face internally.

To be honest, I was a bit nervous before this day. How will the team react to "Moving Forward" and me as an ambassador? How much interest will there be in me and my sport?

But then tense anticipation quickly turns into just pure joy: because the response from the Berghof team is just great!

After the film premiere, the Berghof team escorts me onto the stage with thunderous applause and I can introduce myself a little in a casual interview.

The marketing team has literally thought of everything and even had special Berghof "Moving Forward" autograph cards printed. So my autographs are particularly popular - as are photos with me in front of the vehicle in the special Berghof "Moving Forward" design, which was completed shortly before the Oktoberfest.

Everyone is super nice and interested, marvel at my bike, ask many questions about me and my material. The mood is so good that the time flies by. Actually, I wanted to go to bed early because I have a race in Kempten the next day. But it is then quite late, because it's just great fun.

Luckily I’m still able to win the race – or maybe because of that...;-)

After this perfect start, I'm looking forward to the collaboration more than ever. Because this evening, the great atmosphere and the interesting conversations have shown me: Berghof and I, we are simply a perfect team!

Part 1, August 22th, 2022: What a fantastic atmosphere

The atmosphere at the European Championships in Munich (August 11 to 21, 2022) were a blast – especially due to the fact that many friends and our families have taken the opportunity to cheer us on.

A major international championship in our own country is of course always something very special. So the mission is clear early in the year: We want to defend our title in front of our home crowd and go for gold again.

Therefore, as before all major competitions, we meet ten days beforehand for joint training, also to get in the mood for the unusually short track (only 200 instead of 250 meters long). Nothing should disturb us in this preparation.

But it comes differently. I have to interrupt training with the track foursome and go to Sweden for a few days.

The reason: Most of the year I pedal for a professional team in road races. Many of the riders on this team are absent due to injury or illness, so I have to fly to Sweden to support the team here as well. Actually, my professional team had given me time off for the preparation.

Anything but optimal, but flexibility is also the top priority for us professional sportswomen - and ducking the issue doesn't apply anyway ;-)

In my head, of course, I'm still on the big mission - and after I return, it quickly becomes clear: Despite the interruption, I'm fit to the point.

This is also necessary - because our track foursome is somewhat weakened. One of my colleagues has just recovered from a Corona infection and is not yet one hundred percent fit again. Another colleague had a serious fall shortly before the European Championships. So we don't have a fifth rider as a substitute, as is usually the case.

Nevertheless, everything initially goes according to plan. In the final against Italy, however, things get really exciting: The race is extremely close and we're trailing for a long time. But in the end we mobilize all our reserves once again, take the lead with two laps to go and win by a razor-thin margin of just 0.6 seconds.

This is precisely one of the great strengths of our team: we always have our goal firmly in mind, but remain flexible in our minds so that we can react to changes in plans at any time.

Speaking of change of plans: In the course of the European Championships, there is another, very positive surprise. I am nominated at short notice for the road race and can thus also enjoy the insanely great atmosphere on the course in downtown Munich.

Simply pure goose bumps!