Vätternrundan 300 (06/2019)

So apparently I forced myself into writing something down again. This time I will write about the longest bicycle ride I ever made. Vätternrundan 300.

Bike race held in Sweden. The race starts in city Motala and goes around lake Vättern – second largest lake in Sweden. Usually on the longest day of the year. Around 20 000 participants take part in 300km race. Starting from 19:30 60 participants start every 2 minutes.

Actually, I don’t know how/when I ended up registering for this race, but I know that one friend was mentioning that he did it/ would like to try it. So I registered as well. 300 km sounded challenging to me and since I like challenges I decided to join. Another interesting fact is that you are supposed to ride over the night. Another challenge 🙂

This time I had to do some real research since this is not a race you can just show up at and ride. The main issues were the following.

How do I train for it?
This was easy, I did a few ~50 km rides around Munich and one other competition. Imst bike marathon 110km/2300m. This competition destroyed me pretty much since I had 2 cramps in both of my legs (4 in total) during the last 40km. The learning from this was that I have to add some magnesium and salt into my body during the competition.

How do I get there?
My initial plan was to drive there which would be some 16h (1500km) of driving. Boarding on a ferry between Germany and Sweden. Not great, not terrible. My girlfriend asked me: “Why don’t you go by airplane?” I did some research if there are any good flight options to/from Sweden and there were, so I decided to take an airplane. However, I have never flown with my bike so I had to get some bag for my bike. After some research, I ended up with Scicon Aerocomfort Road 3.0 TSA. Some website was mentioning that half of the pro teams are using this one, so I just blindly trusted them. Packing went well and I could easily fit my bike into the bag.

So I have packed my bike, went to the airport and flew to Stockholm. The small problem was that I landed around 22:00 and still had to drive to my Airbnb which was located close to the city “Nyköping”. All in all, I went to bed around 0:30 which is not the best if you have to cycle 300km next day.

Nutritionwise, I did not do anything special before the race. The only “boost” was that I ate pasta 3 or 4 times. Actually I don’t know if the body can store that sugar somewhere but I guess so. Maybe I should read something about this 🙂 For the race, I prepared 2 bottles of water, each one consisted of:
– half liter orange juice
– half liter water
– salt (1 teaspoon? , I don’t remember how much I put)
– 2 tablets of magnesium
– 1 tablet of something, I don’t know what that is but bought it in the bike shop, it had some minerals, caffeine, etc .

I have also taken energy gels (3 or 4) and some grape sugar (glucose). Also, I put a few tablets of glucose into my water.

According to the organizers, food stations should be roughly every 30 kilometers, so I did not want to overpack.

My Airbnb hut. Quite cozy but there was no toilette so I had to go to the nearby lake and shit at Toi Toi there 😀

The race – Friday 14/06/2019
I got up like I do every day, and realized that I have slept around 8 hours, a great success.

Then I started to work since I was still employed and the home office was not an issue.

My lunch, pasta again, With blue cheese and some bacon. And of course, onion to fear the competition.
The bike survived the road. Great.
Thank you very much Munich airport personnel for checking my bike and putting it together properly (losing the cover part)…
As it usually is, something breaks when you don’t expect it. In my case, this was the cycle computer… The only thing you can play with during the race…. And it broke, what a life 🙁

I was done around 15:00 with my work and bike assembly so I decided to head to “Motala” , where the competition was starting from. I have noticed quite a lot of cars with bikes on the highway. Once I got there I parked my car at the dedicated parking place and picked up my starting number.

Lucky number 25. The lights were mandatory.

Funny thing is that I was starting in the 1st wave with some old-schoolers, who did this race multiple times.

Starting slots
My sexy & transparent glasses. Sex appeal +5 points, vision +3 points 😀

So we started at 19:30

  • The first ~15 km were pretty peacefull since it was mostly veterans we did not do much of a pace
  • Next 10-20 km was more fun since 5 or 6 of us made a break and went to the front (one guy chain broke, what a life 😀 )
  • I think it was on 30’th km when a huge group of fast guys overtook us. It was probably some team since all of them were wearing the same shirts 🙂
  • I was able to go behind them which was good, since riding in peloton is much easier.
  • Everything was smooth, pretty good pace, but around 100’th km, I started to be quite thirsty and one other cyclist told me that sometimes those clubs have their own refreshments stations where only members can stop.
  • So I was cycling thirsty and secretly hoping that they stop at some official refreshment station.
  • At 130’th km, we stopped at the official refreshment station 🙂 Amazing. I drank some water, reffiled my water bottles, ate some bananas and cakes. And of course, took a piss.
  • The whole refilling procedure took maybe 2 min, and then we rode again.
  • Riding afterward was much, much better. No wind, no rain. Just darkness.
  • So we rode again, I don’t know how long since my computer was broken.
  • We stopped again at roughly 230’th km at a refreshment station. This time a few guys puked, one almost puked at me while I was refilling my water bottles 😀 Damn amateur 😀 just kidding. He did well most likely.
  • And then guess what. We rode again. Also, the sun started to go up again.
  • One time I had a hard time since I was not paying attention, and went a bit of the road. Actually I almost fell but I managed to stay on the bike. The hard part came afterward when I almost died while trying to catch up the peloton. I knew that if I won’t catch them I am fuc*ed. But I did it.
  • We reached the finish line around 3:45 among the first riders.
I made it 😀
Some data from strava. Here is the link.

After the race, you had to rest for at least 4 hours, since you are not allowed to drive and I heard that police was checking it, so I slept for a few hours in the car.

– Perfectly organized race. A lot of information prior to race. Amazing traffic control and so on.
– Thousands of people cheering and shouting along the whole race. Amazing atmosphere.
– I did it in 8:13h which is good. My aim was around 9 hours.
– The biggest pain point was my neck and not legs. Legs could do 100 km more. Maybe 😀
– I will also go next year and you should join me 🙂

My bike, but this time with the medal.
Surroundings of my accommodation.