Two days ago, on Saturday, this year's brevet season got started here in Trondheim. Now, randonneuring is a niche sport to begin with, and that is certainly the case here, with me being the only participant, just as was the case with the 400 km I completed last year. A big thank you to Olav Skundberg who takes the time to organize events like this just for me :-) It would be fun, though, with more participants. Check out http://randonneurs.no if you're curious.
The weather forecast was spectacular, with clear blue skies, which is not something we take for granted around here. Although it seems winter has finally made way for spring, we're still having sub-zero temperatures at night. The week leading up to the event, I was contemplating whether I could in fact go with the recumbent that I intend to do all the randonneuring with, or if I needed to use my winter equipped gravel bike that I've been riding for the last 6 months. In the end I settled on the recumbent, and that was absolutely the right call, as I had nothing but dry, ice-free roads the entire ride.
I've completed some 200 km rides before, and I wasn't particularly nervous about this event. But I was eager to find out how my knees and Achilles tendons would cope, as they have given me some trouble before on very long rides. I've learned how to use sports tape, and I brought some Ibuprofen in case I needed it. I also make sure to keep my legs warm. I'm happy to say I had no discomfort of any sort at any time. Apart from the legs, the recumbent bicycles really do a terrific job protecting against any other pain and discomfort. On my upright bikes, I cannot ride a full day without feeling it in my back, neck, saddle area, and sometimes also shoulders, arms and hands. On a recumbent, I can ride for hours and hours without feeling like I have to stop and stretch. In fact, as long as you go at a sustainable pace, the legs will do the work on their own, and after a full day on a recumbent you really don't feel that much different than after a full day driving a car, except for the fatigued legs. I honestly can't understand why so few people ride recumbents over here.
The 50 km to the first control at Støren is a nice ride on bicycle lanes and roads that see little traffic due to new highways nearby. The next 30 km to Berkåk are less pleasant, partly because it involves climbing, but mostly because you need to go onto E6, the main road connecting Trondheim and Oslo. And with the start of Easter holidays for many, this weekend is really not good timing to do so. Luckily, the traffic wasn't as bad as I expected. The traffic seemed to come in batches. Whenever I had a long stream of cars behind me that couldn't easily pass, I would skip into the next runoff and let them pass. I only had to do this a few times.
After some food at a petrol station in Berkåk, I was ready to go west and north through Meldal, Storås and Svorkmo. What goes up must come down, and this was indeed a 60 km stretch that was mostly either flat or slightly downhill.
At Svorkmo, I turned on to a steep gravel road leading to Fannrem, just before the last control at Orkanger, before I could enjoy a familiar road and still very nice weather home to Trondheim.
All in all a very nice day on the bike!