So the Vätternrundan 2013 is now completed. The goal of sub7 hours was not achieved, but at least we had a hard and nice day’s workout.
Before the race, I had been a bit unsure about my ability to perform in the race. Racing Vättern and other road races is quite different from the triathlon/tempo efforts I am used to. This year, I started biking late, and I have only been on one real group biking session. Hence, I was far from sure how i would perform.
Anyway, the days leading up to the race I took some good days of tapering. I felt quite fresh when coming to Motala, even though compensated this with obsessive over-eating the day before and the morning of the race.
The day of the race was a very nice day and even not too hot. But the wind wasnt in our favor, it was a headwind the first 90 k, and instead of a tailwind we just got the wind from the side-tail on the west side of Vättern.
We were a group of 30-ish non-pro, non-elite racers that formed this years Conti Test Team. The gun went of as the third of the “fast groups” at 9.38 on Saturday morning. We started, as always very hard and at a high pace down to Jönköping. Soon, some of the guys had to fall back and rest. Also for me it was a bit too hard. As I am not used to the very high intensity of the belgian chain type of racing we do, I had to go down and take it a bit softer after 30 k. I felt useless and wondered why I was doing this.
The kilometres rolled by and finally we came through Gränna and then Jönköping. We had as usual a 2 min stop just after Gränna. Despite that I had a need for peeing since the start, I didnt manage to empty the bladder….
My plan was now to take it easy and start working again in Jönköping. When coasting at the back of the peleton, negative thoughts form and you start wondering if you can ever do any of the hard work at the front. But 10 k or so before Jönköping I forced myself to start contributing again.
Down to Jönköping there was actually a good bunch of people that did the hard work, and given the head wind, I assessed the speed as quite ok, 39.5 average.
Just after Jönköping we passed the Bianchi group that started 8 (?) minutes before us.
I continued to work at the front of the peleton, and actually felt stronger and stronger. Especially on the hills. Not unusual for me at Vättern runt.
Soon after Bankeryd, the group of contributing riders became fewer and fewer. Eventually we were down to 5-10 riders maximum, which is far to few in order to bike fast.
But the wind was not optimal. We had been hoping for an equally strong tailwind, but it was more from the side, thus didnt help us enough. In Fagerhult we stopped by the Snabbdepå, and as the average speed didnt pick up fast enough, I realized that we were not going to make it.
Again a 2 min break in Fagerhult, and again unable to pee… Annoying.
Actually I felt very strong. Sometimes too strong and pulled too hard leaving a gap behind (sorry fellows!). Many times, I encouraged the people down at the back of the pack to come up and help. Sometimes it worked and despite they were so tired some of them came up and took some turns.
I got some pain in my left knee and had to take a diklofenak, which helped good. I was annoyed that so few of us ( about 5-max10 could do the work), and that we wouldnt make it, but at the same time I felt very strong. We approached Karlsborg and we collected some danish guys and Ted Ås. I wanted them to help, but obviously some of them were already cooked. I later gave Ted a bottle of energy drink. In Askersund I had some sensation of cramps, but they never fully developed. Instead, the belgian chain type of racing completely broke down. First I took 2 quite hard and long periods of racing in front. The second of them almost cooked me completely. Then Fredrik G came up from nowhere and obviously had found some reserves, as he pulled extremely hard forever. I could barely keep up behind him until we turned down south at Hammarsund.
The part down from Hammarsund to Medevi was first a mayhem, then only very hard. 2 foreign guys helped pulling and then we were at most time only 2-4 from CTT that had any power left.
I think many had wasted themselves already on the way down to Jönköping. When approaching Motala we slowed down significantly and formed a very nice line of riders for the finish line.
We finished in 7.18, far from the goal, but a nice day in the saddle anyway eventually. I believe we could probably have reached last years finish time of 7.08, if that was the goal. But as we early realized that we would miss the sub7-limit, I think the morale disappeared. I think there were 2 groups that were faster than we this year, one consisting of pro riders (6,37 hours…???!!) and one consisting of very strong masters riders and some semi-pro (7.04). This means that I and all the other CTT riders that completed together had the 27th best time this year. Some kind of personal best. http://resultatjakt.se/events/vattern_2013/27194/
Thank you all in CTT. We didnt make it this year, but maybe next? Great job everyone!
I had a GoPro camera on my stem and also took it of at some times to shoot some photos and films. Dont miss the movie clips at the far end of this post.
Some data from the race:
My log on Garmin connect, incl Watt data per every 5 k lap http://connect.garmin.com/splits/328267848
I took only 3 bottles of sports drink and 10 gels and 10 salt tablets
I actually had 6 bottles, but I gave away 3 bottles when we had 20-30 k left to Motala.
Avg Speed 40.5 km/h, max avg speed 40.3 (topped at about 200 km). The last 50 k were very slow… Last 20 was just a cool down.
In Jönköping we had 39.5 km/h avg speed.
6240 calories burned
240 Watts average
68 km /h maximim
The VR start (20 mins) : http://youtu.be/ZSXbbay4Hgs
Interview with Paprikan and nice scenery (45 sec) : http://youtu.be/blW7yOpBF00
Fagerhult pit stop and hard work of few riders (20 mins) : http://youtu.be/sPPtLESmkx4
Speeding through HJo (3 mins) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8atmWAkVoI
Karlsborg (2 mins) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwmOJgwXEEg
Intervju Peter och Mikko precis före Motala (12 sek): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNckLFDVQWQ