Blogg

The Aftermath – Vättern veteran!

It’s now 10  months since my blogpost “Vätternrundan Dos and Don’ts”.

My 25th Vättern  (in 28 starts) is now completed and it was a beauty!
A big part of my riding over the years has been my family. With two marriages behind me you could be forgiven for thinking “Not surpised with all that cycling”. But they, and the beautiful daughters that somehow miraculously sprouted out of those relationships (how did that happen??) have been a fantastic support crew in that part of my life.

So at the end of this ride, I gave the corresponding medals I received the same year as my daughters were born to each of them. I kept the 25th for myself and the rest are gone. I couldn’t think of a more fitting way to say thankyou to them for all their encouragement and ‘putting up with’ down the years.

5 daughters, 5 vätterns

My 5 daughters with the medals

Now; A slight refresher. 16 Riders looking to get to the finish at 11 hours.
Here’s a view of our plan vs execution (sounds so officious doesn’t it!)

Calculating our ride

Our plan versus our ride

It played out perfectly. We stopped 10mins more than our plan and came in 5 mins earlier.
I’m certainly not going to detract from the fact that this was one hell of a group to ride around the lake with. Everyone was so on top of their game it was a pure pleasure to be a part of it.

There were however some, what I call, “Squeaky bum” moments and noted irritation from others on the roads. And for this, I can only point my finger squarely at the seemingly endless amount of riders whose plan it is to sit on the tail of a group for 300kms.
As for these riders, I can’t and never will take any accountability or responsibility for you!
At first, this statement may sound and look agressive, and in a sense it is. To the untrained eye (or butt) you may wonder what difference it makes to me or my group who is taking a free ride behind us.

Well, if we were the only ones on the road? None at all.
But when we have roughly 20,000 riders on the roads with an incalculable number of overtakings and manoeuvres being performed, well yes, then it does make a difference. I have to calculate for my group when overtaking – not the 4 – 100 cyclists behind them.

Just to bang on a little bit more on the wrongs and whys and wherefores of cycling Vättern.
When my group overtakes another group on the road three things happen:
A: We alert the group we are to overtake in a good tone that we are overtaking.
B: We remind eachother not to pull infront of the group till our last cyclist has given the ok.
C: The last cyclists passes the group, gives the ok, and says a happy “Ciao” to the group behind.

What we heard a few times were angry voices shouting at us for cutting in front too soon.
I wasn’t upset by this, it really wasn’t aimed at me but  at the between 4 to 100 riders sitting behind us on the freebie ride. The Wheel suckers!
On one occassion I had no choice but to stop our group at Ödeshög and let the tail continue without us.

What to do?
Well by now it is too late. If you are already registered with a couple of friends or solo, then you won’t be in a group of riders you know. But when you get to the start and eventually hit the road you will undoubtedly bunch up in a group riders at some point that hold a pace you feel is comfortable.
Get talking to them, don’t be shy, it’s going to benefit you all.
Do a couple of minutes each at the front before rotating and try to keep it going as long as you can.
Ask if they are planning any depot stops? What time they are aiming for? and if it ties in with your own plans  suggest riding together.

Whatever happens on the day, the best thing you can do as a single rider is to be aware and to be as congenial and forgiving as you possbly can.
We are all hoping for a great ride on the day and if you’re lucky? You’ll look as happy as this lot that were with me when I completed my 25th Vättern!

cyclists

16 riders after Vätternrundan

Bosse and Gary

Me with my Veteran Jersey

Finally. I went to Motala in October and picked up my Vet jersey. There I be Bosse … we’ve cycled a bit together in Italy. Bosse has now done 50!!! Kudos my good man!
Ride on and see you in Motala!

I came, I saw, I biked

Gary Fleming: Currently a 54year old father of five girls living in Sweden who loves nothing more than to get out on the road and pedal.

You are cordially invited to join me at this blogg where I will re-tell the stories, experiences and history of my own battles with my trusty carbon steed plus reporting on current topics, training rides and camps, cycling in other parts of the world and finally what you may or may not have thought about; what you may need to make your Vätternrundan an event to remember.

Now a Veteran with 25 completed Vätternrundans in my water bottles I will be in Motala on June 10th for Halvvättern and again on June 16th. I have only one motto when it comes to cycling. ”My destination is not my goal, the road is my goal” Hopefully we will meet on the road