Sooooo excited! Missing the Vintervättern last week made the wait between the Ötzi XL and this shorter Ötzi-version seem like it lasted forever. The cold and snowy weather the last few days has contributed to the childish anticipation of this one. It's a classic ride of 200 km around Mälaren, but with a shortcut from Strängnäs over the bridge towards Enköping. KBCK has had this ride for years (premiere 2006?) and still arranges it from Barkarby, but now under the auspices of the real club Randonneur Stockholm. The day beforehand we heard that 30 people had registered!
Rise and shine!
Slightly less package, slightly extended rear mudflap, slightly more snow
It was great meeting lots of well known and some new faces in Barkarby; I think about 25 started. I was a bit disappointed that I was the only KBCK representative with both Johan and Anders getting far too old and lazy and restricting their activity to sitting in warm sofas and looking like secretaries. After cheerily saying goodbye to them we immediately divided up into two groups and rode disciplined and well in the first to get out of the citycycling part that continues to make me a bit nervous.
We rode hard but even to Strängnäs in about -6 degrees and pretty good wind. I was trying to take 10 minute turns at the front and keep the pulse at just over 80% and it was fun to look down at the Garmin sometimes and see that we were riding over 40 km/h. In the snow and with studded tyres. After Strängnäs the first group not surprisingly was getting tired and we took it easier after that. Well, except for Mats "pilen" Pihlström who didn't get tired. Due to the cold, more or less perpetual light snowfall and strong wind, I didn't once take my gloves off during riding to take any actual cycling pictures, so you need to trust me that I actually sat on a bike :-) Others on happymtb.org were better at this.
It was the first long test of my new Zaniers heated gloves and they were perfect. On the lowest heating level of three the whole time, no problems with battery time for 8.30 hours. I'm so happy! I recently decided that I would try one more new pair of gloves or else stop winter cycling due to very easily frozen fingers. I can now confidently keep riding!
Glow in the dark gloves
Gurra was as dependable as ever and after a few kilometers of following our group came into the Bålsta station with us with a bag of endless Jägermeister to replenish exhausted riders with new energy. Johan had shaken off his morning old-age tiredness and met us at Bålsta, which meant we had a fresher brain and fresher legs to guide us the last, slippery, snowy kilometers to Barkarby. I missed the sprint for the sign again, this time consciously resisting the urge to sprint when I felt how deceptively slippery it was around the final round-about. But that didn't matter. It's always nice to get to the finish and feel the exhaltation and streams of endorphines flowing through the body and talking complete rubbish with the other companions of the whole day. We came in in an unusually fast 8.30 hours for these conditions.
A spritely looking bunch at a traditional afterbike in Barkarby
I felt surprisingly comfortable with the whole day. Despite of course getting tired during the harder riding parts and getting cold, it was all within easily managed zones, which makes me confident of upcoming long rides.
There are no planned rides in the next weeks though, so many have discussed that we need an extra one slotted in the calender soon. I'll see what I can think of...