It’s that time of the year again, where I spend a few saturdays out in the woods riding my bike together with a couple of thousand other interesting people. Today it was Grenserittet (“Cross Country Ride”, from Strömstad in Sweden to Halden in Norway) which I also did in 2009 and 2008.
This year’s course had to have an emergency fix after 30mms of rain on Thursday made parts of the track almost disappear. It was quite a minor change, as there was an alternative road almost parallel to the original one.
After getting up at 06:30 this morning and travelling to my parents home, my dad and me left for Strömstad and my 09:55 start. It was supposed to rain at the start, but in the late hours of last night the weather prognosis changed and promised sun with a few clouds. Spot on! As we rolled out from Strömstad light clouds covered the sky, making the temperature just right for a day out on gravel roads and forest trails!
I decided to bring along two gel packs (100g each) and one energy bar – this proved to be just about right for the trip (in addition to two water bottles, with refill at the service stations at each 20km). I also ate a piece of banana at each of the service stations and downed a cup of sports drink. The energy bar was consumed in two rounds between 30km and 50km.
The number bibs that each rider attaches to his or her bike and back had changed this year. Instead of having the contestant number as the largest feature, the organizers had decided to go with printing the first name of the rider instead. This worked great! It made the spectators cheer for you by name and made it a lot easier to keep track of people you were riding with! As Per Øyvind (.. if I remember correctly) said after 30kms, “hey, it’s Mats again! We’ve been riding together since the start!”. Getting a name attached to a person made it a lot easier to remember that you had seen these people before, if they had raced past you a couple of minutes ago, etc. Great stuff.
Anyways! Today’s result:
(2009: 4:45:57, 2008: 4:47:04)
A new personal best with over one hour, and just four minutes behind the cut off point for the “wow, you were fast!”-prices. Awesome. I had hopes of getting below four hours, but this was beyond my expectations.
The bike has been washed, the clothes are ready for the washing maching (and yes, I did carry one small Norwegian forest worth of mud home) and I’m feeling my muscles rebuild while relaxing on the couch writing this post.
Now we’ll have to see what I can do in this year’s Birkebeinerrittet and start planning for next year!