This weekend I completed my toughest ride to date! For the first time Oslo Gravel Grinder took place. A 261 km gravel ride with 5000 meters of elevation. That’s a lot! It was a rally – not a race. So there were no time keeping or numbers pinned to the jersey. 50 people had signed up (full booked) and we all started at 7 AM in the morning in one group. But quickly we were spread out and formed smaller groups. I had already agreed with few others that we would ride together, and a couple more joined us on the day.
For me it was the longest day ever on the bike. Not in terms of distance, but rather the amount of hours spent on the bike. And I’ve never done so much elevation in one ride. But I managed to eat and drink well all day, and the legs were pretty good throughout the ride. Obviously, I was very tired at towards the end but it would’ve been disappointing if I wasn’t.
My darkest moments were actually already after about 50 km, when we covered a section with some incredibly steep ramps. My Wahoo said 21% several times. You had to use all the power you could muster just to avoid falling off the bike. It was extremely exhausting, and when still having more than 200 km to the finish line, you really get the chance to practice positive thinking. I failed that a few times, but with moral support by the friends I was riding with I managed to survive this and could continue. For the rest of the day I never really doubted that I would make it all the way through.
Usually, I’m not into such extreme efforts. I’m not the kind of person that has any desire to tackle challenges just for the sake of it. For me it has always been about enjoying the ride. But with Oslo Gravel Grinder came also a huge social element. The organizers – The Vélo Experience – had arranged two superb food stops. Lunch after 85 km and dinner after 165 km. This made a big difference for most of us I think. It ensured that we all got proper food and it gave us the chance to sit down for half an hour or so to chat and just hang out. That was great!
Huge kudos to everyone who joined this. Not only those who did the full distance, but everyone who was out there spending time on the bike. It doesn’t have to be 261 km to be massive effort and a great day. Less can certainly do it. I’m gonna be back next year. For sure!