Last Saturday I raced in Birkebeinerrittet which is a mountain bike race in Norway over the mountains from Rena to Lillehammer. The race is about 94,6km and it’s the worlds biggest mountain bike race with ~16.000 contestants. My group started at 13:20 so I left Fredrikstad around 07:15 together with Linda so I’d have plenty of time. I arrived early and managed to get a good 45 minute warm up by cycling around Rena before the race started. During my warm up it started to rain and I got some messages from a couple of friends of mine that the track was extremely muddy and slippery. I raced in Grenserittet earlier this year and thought that it couldn’t be much worse than that… boy was I wrong. Take a look at some pictures from the event and you’ll understand.
The trip over the mountains did not exactly go as planned though. After 3,16km’s my cycle computer stopped working. It has been this way once before and that was at the Grenserittet race. I’m guessing this computer doesn’t want me to enter these races. Now, this was only a small beginning. When I stood on the top of the so called raisin hill (Rosinbakken) at the ~55km mark I had managed to break my glasses (which was a major bummer in these conditions), puncture twice and split my chain 3 times. Since I only had one extra tube in my backpack I actually had to patch the tube the second time around which was not too easy when everything is covered in mud. I got quite cold during this ordeal as well so it wasn’t to pleasant to get back on the seat. Since my chain (and the rest of the bike for that matter) was covered in mud it’s easier to break it if you don’t have the correct oil and bit of luck. The last time I sat mending my chain some other guy broke his chain as well so we sat down and shared a laugh and a bun with raisins (which was fitting since we were sitting at the top of the raisin hill).
After all this I lost all motivation and did not ride very fast and efficient to the finish line. I finished the race in 5 hours and 54 minutes which was way more than my intentions. Hopefully the weather will be better next year and that I’ll have a bit more luck with my bike. Mats finished the race in 5.24 wihch was a big improvement from last year.
I’ve uploaded some photos of my bike after the race to flickr: