This day seemed quite faint back in february when the signup for Grenserittet (“Cross Countries”) opened up, but after just short of five hours on the bike, I have now returned! Yet again the 81 kilometers between Strømstad and Halden were the goal of the trip, and yet again it proved to be harder than planned. Christer also did the race, but I failed to make any kind of contact with him during the day – even though we started in the same group. He did an amazing race and finished in 3 hours and 49 minutes, almost an hour less than me.
The biggest issue this year was that during the last two days before the race, the weather turned really nasty and we got 60mm of rain during those two days in total. This means one thing: Mud, mud and more mud. I’ve never seen so much .. mud. In one area things had gotten so bad that the organizers declared the part of the track to be unridable, and chose to lead the competitors around the area instead. Luckily the weather today was warm and comfy (not too hot), so the parts of the track that hadn’t gone completely muddy were quite good.
Compared to last year I had a much, much slower start this year, averaging 13.37 (!) km/h during the first 29 kms, down from 19km/h the previous year. Last year things did however go from bad to worse, and the last 50 kms saw slower and slower average speeds. This year things were just the opposite, and after the first checkpoint I averaged 17.8km/h, 20.5km/h and 22.6km/h. Seems like I at least had a bit more energy late in the race this year. The total time this year became 4 hours, 45 minutes and 57 seconds, close to two minutes better than last year. Considering the state of the track in the forrest, I’m almost happy with the time. Next year, tho…
Now it’s four weeks until Birkebeiner’n, a 89.5km long race over the mountains between Rena and Lillehammer. I have no idea why I keep doing this, but I’ll still do it next year.