With 28 starts in Vättern, 3 DNF’s and 10 completed Halfvätterns I think I’ve built up a pretty good database of Dos and Don’ts. Some things are more obvious than others and some can seem a little Overkill. So with the focus on Vätternrundan on June 16th/17th I’ll let you be the judge of what’s worth listening and adhering to and what’s to be discarded.
Why now? I mean, why 2 weeks before Vättern? Well it’s almost a little late for some dos and don’ts but had I written this mid-May it would have been forgotten. so here goes and in no particular order.
Do: Ride at least 1 (preferably 2) 150km rides before you get to Motala for the 300 kms. Halfvättern is the perfect indicator to tell you where your form is.
Don’t: Make these the only rides you do all year 😉 try and ride around 1500kms before your VR.
Don’t: change to new tires or inner tubes the day before VR! Test them thoroughly first on a training ride. You don’t want them failing on the day.
Don’t: Take both your hands of the handlebars at any point during the ride. Not even if you’re a pro. There is a massive assortment of riders on the course this day, and not all are completely comfortable in the saddle. I’ve seen sudden gusts of winds take out cyclists in an instant.
Do: pump up your tires to the pressure you need 24 hours before you intend to leave for Motala; That way if there are any slow punctures you can repair this before you leave for the big one! And yes, pump them again before you start.
Don’t: Be a miserable git (actually a git is a pregnant camel but nowdays means not nice) on the ride. If someone says hi, say hi back and smile. We’re all in this together, albeit at different speeds.
Have you ever spoken to anyone who’s said:
”I’m gonna do Vättern this year and I want it to be as horrible as possible!” ?
We all want a really nice ride around the lake. Let’s make it happen for eachother
Do: wear glasses on the ride. A Fly in the eye can end your ride in an instant. (personal experience 2002)
Do: Wave and say hi to spectators at the side of the course that have come out to cheer us on.
Don’t: High-Five intoxicated (or otherwise) members of the public en route. I saw this exact behaviour cause a monster crash 13kms before Husqvarna 2003.
Do: Print out your startbevis before leaving for Motala and pick up your start number in good time.
Do: Plan your energy intake on VR as meticulously as possible. You’ve got all Spring to test this.
Don’t: Try any untested energy products on the day of the ride. You want to make sure that your stomach can manage what’s going in, the last thing you need is interior bodily malfunction.
Do: Drink when you’ve eaten energy products. Remember. 1gr Carbohydrate binds 2,7gr water.
So if you shove a bar down your gullet, drink approx 2dl of water /sport drink along with it.
Do: wear enough clothing to keep you warm during the chill of the night.
Don’t: forget that these same items of clothing can be left in at any one of the depots for you to pick up when you return to Motala.
Don’t: leave in your rain jacket during the ride, you may need it later.
Do: stow it away up under your jersey at the back. The elastic will keep it in place (I promise)
Do: remove the inner tube’s valve cover and the ring that secures the valve to the rim of the wheel.
In the event of a puncture, you don’t want to be removing those with cold, wet fingers. A time saver.
Don’t: forget to tighten the quick-release skewers on both wheels and secure the break caliper levers before you start.
Don’t: race down to Jönköping, the real test starts after the first 110kms.
Do: thoroughly clean your bike and oil your chain before you leave for VR
Do: Keep the time you spend in the depots down to a minimum. The quicker you get in and out, the quicker you will get back into your rhythm. A half an hour depot stop can cost you 45mins if your legs start to seize up in the depot. (You’ll know what I mean when it takes you 2 mins to sit down comfortably in the saddle again)
Don’t: Race over the finish line. Your finishing time is registered way before that just after the last turn, so there’s really no point.
Do: wait 6 hours before you drive home.
Don’t: drive home within 6 hours of finishing the ride. Just Don’t!
The Police are patroling all roads out of Motala and have access to Vätternrundans datebase and can see when you finished. If you’re caught? Your licence may well be revoked and you will be disqualified from the race.
This behaviour has cost the lives of other cyclists in the past, hence the rule. So please don’t be so selfish.
Feel free to add some of your own dos and don’ts