Vätternrundan is one of the biggest road cycling events in the world, organized every year in June at Motala, Sweden. Event is sold out in minutes when registration opens in October and those lucky riders who have managed to get one of the 20.000 tickets to the event have long winter time to get enough training to finish the 300 kilometre ride. “Winter miles, summer smiles”
Our team arrived to Motala from Helsinki, Tampere, Jönköping and Östersund offices. We had decided to sleep at the floor of local sports hall and early on Friday evening we went to sleep, because wakeup call was set to 2 AM Saturday morning. Our start time was 3:34 AM and goal was to ride 300km in less than 10 hours, with three quick service stops to fill up water bottles and energy reserves. At Vätternrundan you never have to ride alone, first riders start their journey Friday evening and every two minutes until Saturday morning new group starts. Spontaneous riding groups form quickly and when every rider takes their turn in the lead, average speed increases and kilometres disappear quickly.
First hundred kilometres from Motala to Jönköping go fast and we take stops at Ölmstad and Fagerhult, just grab something to eat and fill bottles. From Fagerhult starts nice flat high-speed segment through beautiful cities Hjo and Karlsborg to Boviken. Roads are in perfect condition and speed is high, we ride safely and enjoy the event.
From Boviken starts the route’s most difficult section, we’ve already ridden 225km and road has now some small climbs that take their toll. Also from Askersund, when route turns back to south, we must together fight against headwind. Last 25 kilometres from Medevi back to Motala go through beautiful landscapes, hidden from the wind. Finally we cross the finish line 9h 13min after start, so our sub10h goal was easily reached. With just a bit shorter stops sub9h time would’ve been possible…maybe we try that next year?