“It’s been a long struggle physically and emotionally and my thanks go to all those who have played a part in getting me whole and moving forward,” said Strauss, who raced to her best ever European World Cup result since 2013.
She said she had encountered many of the problems that come with elite racing, having suffered her first major injury at the Commonwealth Games four years ago.
“It was a downward spiral, with two consecutive years of horrendous injuries. Physically it heals, but the mental side of things is a challenge. I’m definitely going to have an interesting book one day.
“It’s all part of the game and part of every athlete’s journey. Hopefully not everybody has to face hardships, but I’m glad I came through it and am definitely a stronger rider for it.”
The Silverback OMX Pro Bike Team rider said her race at Vallnord was exciting, but it was a real battle to the finish as a top-20 was tantalisingly within her reach.
“The race flew by and the laps just faded into one. It was an interesting start as it was quite bunched up and I got stuck in traffic, as one does on a world cup circuit.
“I fought back nicely and was happy with my first-lap position.”
Strauss then put the hammer down and tried to move up as best she could to secure a position. She said she made a couple of mistakes on the singletrack and lost some time but managed to close the gap and get back into contention.
“It [the result] was bittersweet, but I’m super stoked with how I raced and mentally pushed myself. It was the biggest step forward for me and it’s good to see that I’m moving in the right direction.”
Everything played a role at elite level and you could not afford to make any mistakes, she said. “Even little issues like not enough sleep play a massive role. You need to get everything sorted and on form.
“Your opponents have everything dialled. If you’re that half a percent off your best it shows dramatically in your results.”
Strauss felt her achievement was a confidence booster and reinforced what she had been saying to herself for a long time.
“I’ve been working hard to get where I am. I’m excited and looking forward to the next round. Next up is a top-15 position, and then podium here we come.”