What an amazing day on the bike. Dirty No man's land of Follo GRVL is such a challenging event, but yet enjoyable and memorable. Organizing and riding 100 miles with equals, there's no better way to spend a Sunday. This was epic!
As always the DNF is a tough one. 100 miles - 160 km and partly tricky surface. Mostly gravel, lots of forest roads, a few sections of trails, a staircase, a sofa, a little of everything.
Where: Follo, Norway Start/finish: Hvervenbukta, Oslo Distance: 100 miles - 160 km Elevation gain: 8,975 feet / 2700 meter elevation Date: June 13th 2021 Starting time: 7.30 AM CEST Weather: Sun, 18-20°C, partly wet roads Elapsed time: 7h 55 min Riding time: 6h 40 Racing speed: 24 kph
Bike: Cannondale Topstone Carbon Lefty 1 Tires: Maxxis Rambler Gravel 40mm Nutrition: Squeezy Sport Nutrition (Discount: 20% off (if buying more than kr 500) – Orset20 ) Pre race meal: Økoland (Discount: 20% off and free delivery – JOrset2021 ) Race kit: CCN Sport Helmet: Met Manta Shoes: Fizik Terra Powerstrap X4 Chain lube: Muc Off Event crew: Kent Erik Harridsleff, Magnus Aaslund, Jon Otto Lien Event partners: Squeezy, Postkaffe, Kolonihagen, 101percent Training.
Off the grid
After meeting the riders and having a a pre ride coffee we were off. I'm sure many riders were a bit nervous of what they were getting into, being self-supplied with just a few feeding stations while riding more than 8 hours.
Even I was nervous. I had made the route, and knew it, but you never know what may occur on the ride.
There's something relieving of getting started when you know you have a big day ahead of you, but at least you are on the road. Soon you realize, after looking down on the gps unit, it is going to take a long time, lots of sweat and tears until the 100 mile mark, and it's all about doing one pedal stroke at a time.
The red couch
The DNF GRVL Series could easily be called the Red Couch Series. This time we reached the sofa on the first water stop at Bindingsvann. What a view it was! Breathtaking!
Couldn't been a sweeter place to have a cold drink, after the first part through Østmarka.
The route went to Enebakk, following a forest trail towards Tomter, and from there super smooth gravel roads along the farms in Northern Østfold.
Quality feed stop
Half way in, we arrived the home of cycling adventures in Follo - Kråkstad.
Jon Otto is a real legend, and set up tables and made coffee for the riders. We had pastries from Kolonihagen and energy bars and gels from Squeezy. And the Red Couch was there too. Not in needed to rush, this was an adventure, not a race.
I had quite a long break, so I needed to push a bit to reach the first riders. The effort gave me inspiration to start going hard, and I tried to keep a good pace.
It's so much fun to ride fast on gravel roads. The feeling of freedom is amazing, and those narrow roads with the loose ground make the adrenaline pump.
I went fast, and was joined by Tor-Einar, Ole and Sven Ove. We kept a good pace, except up the stairs on Hølen, where we had to carry the bike.
Last leg around the lake
From the southern part it was pretty fast going homewards due to a sweet tailwind. Well, through the forest it wasn't too fast. The vegetation had taken over the path. It was like riding inside a bush. But the bike kept rolling, so with no visual it was quite an amazing experience. (Watch the GoPro video below from 8:13).
I started getting some seconds on the others and went solo for a bit.
We gathered at the last water station 85 miles in, and went together along the lake. A nice stretch perfect for hikers, but also possible for riders.
The last part through Svartskog we split again for a bit, and but the guys in the front arrived the finish not far behind me.
BBQ after bike
I was such an amazing ride, but the day wasn't complete without a proper after ride burger and a (non alcoholic) beer. The guys came in tired and in muscle pain, but smiling, one the more satisfied than the other. Stories were told, and experiences shared.
We all agreed this one was epic and we cannot wait for next DNF GRVL.