Wednesday, August 20, 2014

RACE REPORT: Cykelvasan 90

Despite the quiet appearance on the blog, Team Form Multisport continues to be busy training and competing. Our most recent competition was this past Saturday, Cykelvasan 90.

When registration opened last year on the 21st September 2013, all 12,000 places for Cykelvasan 90km sold out in 3mins 21secs!! David & I were two of the earlybirds to secure start places and on Saturday morning we found ourselves at the start line in a dreary Sälen, ready to tackle the 90km of mountain bike tracks ahead of us.

David just before Eldris
Photo courtesy of happymtb.org
Having never done the course before, we didn't fully know what to expect, but we had heard that the competition consisted primarily of hilly dirt roads, mixed with some short jaunts of asphalt and a bit of single track. More than 7,800 people had already entered the course as we lined up for our 11 AM start. Earlier in the day we had loaded our bikes onto a DHL truck and taken a nearly 2 hour bus trip north from Mora, where we stayed the night before. Like everything with Vasa, the event worked like a well-oiled machine. There are so many volunteers supporting these events, and everything is really well thought out in advance. When our start group was released, we started up the long hill towards Smågan and quickly found a group of riders that were moving at a good pace.

David and I had hoped for a finish time of under 4 hours, and this would mean that we would need to maintain a 26 km/hr pace on average, without burning out too early in the course. We kept this pace going early on without too much trouble, dropping into pelotons and then passing when the pace got to slow. For much of the course, we managed to stay together, but at some point halfway through we separated and David pulled ahead of me. The pace felt good and my legs felt okay as well through the first half, but somewhere between Evertsberg and Oxberg I started to fatigue a bit. Just before Oxberg is a long, steep hill that is preceded by a tall, steep bridge. Here I really started to feel the distance as I made a slow, but steady climb in the lowest gear I have. Eventually, the Gopshus stop was in reaching and after having passed through I heard "Hello there" to my left and there was David, who had stopped for a bit of a stretch after that killer hill.

Jon just before Eldris
Photo courtesy of happymtb.org
We continued to cycle together towards Hökberg but again we got separated with David pulling a bit ahead. At this point, I started checking my watch and doing the math and 4 hours was starting to feel a bit of out reach, but it depended of course on the terrain ahead and I had no real idea what that was like. But when I saw the sign indicating 14 km left I knew that I would come to the finish after 3 PM, so I decided to just enjoy the last bit of riding through some of Sweden's most traveled nature, arriving at the finish line at 3:10 PM for a final time of 4 hours and 10 minutes.

Despite a bit longer time than I'd hoped for, I was happy with the finish. 95 km of pedaling is the farthest I've cycled in a single stretch in since 2007 and I finished with a respectable time and without any major cramps or mechanical issues with my bike. Maybe 2015 will bring an even better finish? :-) 

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