Monday, June 18, 2012

Vätternrundan + Jukola

At starting line of Vätternrundan

The weekend was by far the toughest one during this year. I had had only 5 days to recover from Pirkan lenkki (217 km) cycling event when I was again at starting line of cycling event. This time at Motala, Sweden, where the start and finish are located for cycling around the Vättern-lake (Vätternrundan).

I had successfully completed the 3-day high carbohydrate diet by eating pasta, pasta and pasta... Therefore I had done everything I was able to fulfill my carbohydrate storage and was ready to start for 300 km cycling around Vättern.

The Friday evening was clear and beautiful and I had decided to start as early as possible. My starting time was 19:42 and I thought I need more or less 14 hours to finish, i.e. reaching the finish line roughly 10AM in the Saturday morning. I was wearing only short cycling shirt and short cycling trousers, but nearly everybody else had windproof jackets and long trousers...

Beautiful weather before the start

Soon after start the sun was setting and it was getting cooler and cooler. I was feeling pretty OK at the beginning, but very soon I realized my choice of clothing was not enough. When I stopped at Gränna service station after 80 km cycling I put on extra sleeves to my arms and windproof vest.
At Jönköping service station after 107 km I added extra legs to keep warm when temperature was still going down during the night. It was almost midnight and I was ahead of my initial schedule nearly one hour! But the  most difficult section started after the midnight. The next 2-3 hours at dark and cold fighting against tiredness was mentally tough. I reached Hjo service station at 177 km at 2:33AM and thought it's not getting any worse. But I was wrong!!!

Soon it started to rain and it rained until I reached finish line at 7:56AM. With rain the wind increased and temperature dropped. It was extremely cold and I was totally wet for 4-5 last hours. According the Vätternrundan pages the harsh conditions caused record number (2200) of cyclist to discontinue the race. I managed to cycle to finish but I was nearly hypothermic.

Approaching Gränna service station

All in all I was using only 11,5 hours for Vätternrundan and it felt really good. But it wasn't all for this weekend. Jukola orienteering relay was held in Vantaa next night. I had already spent one sleepless night for cycling 300 km and in the evening I was flying from Stockholm via Riga to Helsinki, where I arrived on Sunday night at 1AM. I took the taxi to the Hakunila competition center and had a chance to sleep for few hours before I had to start my leg.
I was running the 7th leg (15 km) and as expected my legs were extremely tired already at the beginning. Somehow I managed to focus and found control points easily and after 2,5 hours I was happily at the finish line. It started to rain just hour before and again I was totally wet.

At the finish there were problems with my EMIT chip, they couldn't read it and therefore I was demanded to wailing wall. Fortunately I had used the EMIT control slip and they found the punching marks from each and every control point. Otherwise our team would have been disqualified. What a relief !!!

EMIT control slip saving the disqualification of our team

This week I'm just resting and relaxing. Well, continuing my swimming exercises for the next Svensk Klassiker event at July, which is 3 km open water swimming.

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