Pro Gravel

Nordsjørittet GRVL

14/09/21
Jonas Orset

1st place in the gravel event of Nordsjørittet Saturday September 11th. What a day on the Topstone, in an amazing scenery!

Nordsjørittet is 91 km from Egersund to Sandnes. It follows the seaside along Nordsjøen, passing unique nature and scenery. 

From the start it goes northwards on miles of rough-hewn terrain that finally yield to the wide expanses of Jæren. Here, as far as your eye can see, are cultivated fields and sand dunes, and beaches covered with sand or pebbles. - Visit Norway

Nordsjørittet is mostly known for mountain bikers, but the last years the interest to do the event with a gravel bike has increased. 

Due to my focus on gravel it was early on my plan, the first time I ever was doing the event.

Info and my set up

What: Nordsjørittet Gravel Race
Where: Rogaland, South West of Norway
Start/finish: Egersund
Distance: 56 miles - 91 km
Elevation gain: 770 meters
Date: September 11th 2021
Starting time: 10.45 AM CEST
Finishing time: aprox. 13.30 AM CEST
Racing speed: aprox. 32-33 kph.
Weather report: Light rain and light breeze from the south

Bike: Cannondale Topstone Carbon Lefty 1
Tires: WTB Beway 47/Venture 47 650b
Nutrition: Squeezy Sport Nutrition (Discount: 20% off (if buying more than kr 500) – Orset20 )
Race kit: CCN Sports
Helmet: Met Manta
Shoes: Fizik Terra Powerstrap X4
Computer: Wahoo ELMNT Roam
Chain lube: Muc Off

RAIN: But smiling at the start line in Egersund. Photo: Jonas Orset.

The first kilometers from Egersund

Our Allroad/CX group, which I was a part of, started at 10.45 in Egersund. It was a group of riders on different levels, from ex-pros to first-time-racers. 

We started pretty fast, and the action already started in the 2nd roundabout where a rider lost the grip, and went down on the slippy road. 

The front regathered for a bit, but when we hit the first climbs a natural selection started, and soon we were down to 8 riders.

After 11 km I hit a kicker hard, and found myself alone in the front with a gap of 10 sec. We came into the Hyllandsvegen, a stairway climb.

I pushed hard but steady. The gap grew. I didn’t know how much time I had, but decided to keep putting power to the pedals. 

SOLO: I kept going fast, finding myself alone in the front. Photo: Nordsjørittet

Hills, gravel, and happy riders

From there on I was by myself in the front. I was overtaking riders from earlier start groups, lots of tired, but smiling faces.

Overcast, partly light rain, but I was enjoying every bit of the route. Green hills, smell of farmland, passing beaches, and small villages. The atmosphere along the roads were great, and lots of people were cheering.

GRAVEL: Some really nice gravel sections. Photo: Rune Helliesen, Nordsjørittet
SMILING: Lots of smiling faces. Photo: Hans Lie, Nordsjørittet.

I did know the time gap to my competitors. It could be 30 sec or five minutes.

I never felt certain, and kept push on, not taking a breather. Finally on the last few kilometers back to Sandnes I realised the gap was too big to get caught back, and I felt a sense of relief.

I passed the finish line in Sandnes Havn after 2 hours 38 minutes from the start in Egersund. It proved to be quite a gap, the next competitor came in six minutes later.

FLOWERS: 1st place in Nordsjørittet Gravel. Photo: Nordsjørittet.

The organizers offered a tasty after ride meal of biff stroganoff, with fresh fruits, chocolate milk, and coffee. It was chilly air in Sandnes, but a warming environment and a good mood between all the 1800 riders finishing the challenge.

Thank you Nordsjørittet

It was such a well-organized event and a beautiful route. Thank you to the organizers making a day to remember.

The route was amazing following the North Sea Road, and the farmland of Jæren. It was very well marked with signs, and easy to find the way. The marshalls were smiling, and the spectators cheerful. It seemed like everyone involved were enjoying the day.

CHEERING: Lots of good vibes along the course. Photo: Rune Helliesen, Nordsjørittet

I was too. The Cannondale Topstone was fast, on both the more technical parts and the asfalt sections. Thanks to Ulf and Squeezy for the energy sport products helping me stay energized the whole ride.

Just a little more

We had parked the car in Egersund and had to go get it. Kenneth Lerang and I changed to dry clothes, changed bikes to road bikes, and started pedaling all the way back to the start in Egersund.

We took a bit faster route, of 65 km. It was definitely another ride to enjoy, even in rain. I was taking a bit more time to watch and absorb the view. The area around Egersund is really something else.

And then we were back in Egersund, finishing with Indian food with Ulf from Squeezy. Perfect end to a great day!

HIT THE SALOON: Passing this epic place just a few kilometers before Egersund. Photo: Kenneth Lerang.