The 300 km VÄTTERNRUNDAN in Sweden, is the one of the longest sportives in the world.
Last Sunday I had an awesome ride in Norway - I has felt invincible. 300km should be a walk in the park = but had I recovered?
Above: Time to unpack
On the start line I was feeling relaxed, a bit of excitement but no real stress. I had done 430k in the past so 300k was going to be a breeze, especially after the last 2 weekends rides.
we started at 5:06am it was light, dry but windy. we set off steady for the first k or so and then I went to the front and started to drag us back up to the back of a pack that looked to be moving well. Our start group consisted of around 80 riders with 12 of those from our company, QlikTech, and ranged from an Iron Man and veteran of 8 marathons (our CEO) through to people who had bought a bike in March and trained when they could fit it in. I was expected to be the strongest rider and the one that would finish first and on present form I had to agree.
On the back of the group we were at least out of the cold string headwind. The pace was quite high and I was keen on keeping it that way so regularly hit the front and put in some strong pulls, we were averaging over 30kph and i was wondering about the possibilities of a sub 10 hour finish until a few hours in at around 75k when the wheels fell off my ride
Above: 06:56 -Nutricious and delicious! First food stop, meatballs, gherkins and mashed spuds.
There were 3 left from our group and we were in a fast moving pack. The road went up steadily just before Jonkoping and I soon felt the effects of not drinking enough in the build up and then working quite hard early on. I had absolutely no power in my legs, earlier I had said that I may push on if I was feeling good so didnt think it right to give them a shout as I dropped out of the back of the group. I was gutted, if I had not been so complacent and had thought about drinking more then I think this could have been avoided
Above: Going Well
Climbing out of Jonkoping at about 100k I had a text from a friend of mine, I had been blogging from the phone as I rode and the message that I saw really helped raise my spirits again. Between the messages and the amount I had started to eat and drink I managed to start to feel a bit better and pulled back 2 of the 7 minutes I had dropped to meet up again with Jimmie and Lars at the Fagernes feed station
By this point we were riding up the west side of the lake turning the headwind into a mainly tailwind. We decided to stick together as a 3 which worked really well. we were all in the same kit, evenly balanced and we were on a mission all doing good strong pulls. The average was rising and went to over 32kph, we were hardly being passed and it was great to be riding with such strong guys. Each time we looked back there would be a group of 10 or so others hanging off our wheels but we were happy to be doing the work.
Just before we reach Hjo the road turned really wet but luckily we missed the shower that had caused it however we did end up getting soaked but it didnt matter it was great to be working at 90% with water flying up into your face, eyes protected by sunglasses
From here on it gets a bit hazy, we all worked as hard as we could which in turn resulted in needing to stop at the remaining feed stop s to recover which unfortunately did cost us our sub 10 hour time. Lars faded with about 60k to go but could still hold a wheel so Jimmie and I worked together until about 20k to go, from then Jimmie, the 55 year young animal, dragged us both to the line
We crossed the line in 10 hours and 11 minutes for 300km which was outside the sub 10 hours target that was our informal target but the real goal had been to get around in 10 hours something
Amazingly the other 9 riders all finished the ride successfully with the longest time for our group being around 14 hours. The fastest person on the course came in at just over 7 hours (part of a team who wore TT helmets and had a service car) with the slowest being around 25 hours
Stats from the ride can be found here http://connect.garmi...tivity/37597832
Moving Time: 09:25:30
Elapsed Time: 10:12:37
Avg Speed: 28.9 km/h
Avg Moving Speed: 31.3 km/h
Max Speed: 64.4 km/h
This brought us in at 3323 out of 16000
My takeaway from this ride is to take the prep a bit more seriously, Im glad it happened on this ride rather than Norway! That could have made for a long day!