Back in early 2015, two employess of well known sportsclothes manufacturer ’Trimtex’ had a bet as to who would ski Wasaloppet quicker. The Norwegian, of athletic stature and known for his prowess on 2 planks of wood offered his Swedish counterpart a 1 hour head start.
Challenge accepted! Yet, for a challenge to have any substance, the loser would need to forfeit something; and thus it was agreed: The loser would cycle to the winners office.
So would it be Sandviken to Grimstad for the Swede, or Grimstad to Sandviken for the Norwegian?
A call to arms !
Early in May 2015 a post was made on Facebook by my friend Silva (also Trimtex employee) asking if there was someone out there willing to drive a service car from Sandviken to Grimstad in 10 days time. Yes, you’ve guessed it, the Norwegian won and he was claiming his winnings. NOT that the Swede would have backed down from the challenge. No way!
Cometh the hour, cometh the man
May 13th, yours truly and Mattias von IlostabetandnowI’mpayingforit cycled the 98,5kms from Trimtex headoffice in Sandviken to Borlänge along with some rain and wind, and was met at our first destination by Stickan and Silva. The Route
Some of the roads out of Borlänge, Sandviken have to be praised. I Wasn’t quite sure what it was that I was seeing. Seemingly cycle paths for miles and miles on end winding in and out of small wooded areas in the middle of nowhere (well, Sweden). These are old disused railway lines that have had a layer of tarmac applied. Fantastic for cycling and offer some pretty spectacular views aswell.
An angel appeared
The next day saw me driving the car as Mattias, Silva, Stickan and Jimmy’s pedals whipped up a storm heading ever West to the land of the Fjords. Jimmy and Stickan left halway through leaving Silva and Mathias to deal with the roads and come day 4 some pretty heavy weather.
Luckily here we were joined by Anna the angel from Tjörn and I was once again able to get out on the bike and help out in the appalling weather that stalked us into Norway from Moss down to Larvik. I’m still finding gravel in my bibshorts from that ride. The route
Sunday ride Porsgrunn to Grimstad
This day was absolutely outstanding. The weather came good and we cycled and chatted and ate up the miles down the coast on small undulating roads laced with conifer trees and small lakes and waterfalls. Yet that wasn’t the best. Such a welcome we received. Along the route locals were out in their hundreds, and each town we passed through the gatherings amassed thousands.
When we arrived at our hotel in Grimstad we had the most amazing reception.
People had turned out in their hundreds, a bandstand and the town mayor gave a speech.
Norwegian is very similar to Swedish but not always easy to understand, it depends on who’s talking and who’s listening I suppose. The Mayor spoke long and compassionately and we did wonder if Grimstads own former cycling World Champion Thor Hushovd had something to do with this. We didn’t really care, we loved it … Neither of us will forget that day.
17th May …. 2015 🙂 …. 17th May?? something about that date?
Some well earned rest
After the trials and tribulatons of 5 fantastic days on the bike and in the car, seeing places I’d never before seen, Mattias and I settled down at the Scandic hotel with our very expensive bottles of non-alcoholic beer (we were on duty) and duly declared that without doubt we are the best looking guys in Norway!
Sweden 1 v Norway 1. We’ll call it a draw
I’ll skip Vättern 95 & 96 and hop straight to 97. Due to be my 8th in a row I had missed registering in time and was therefore without a start. 3 weeks before the event I was kindly offered a start by Mr Haga Cykel Peter Nilsson. With 0 training kilometers in my legs (I was still an avid footballer) I then set about training, adding up 700 kms during the following 2½ weeks. Tapering off the week before the event I did a nice solo effort of 9:54hrs. Phew … still on for 10 🙂