Ready or not – here I come

Tour de Liesjärvi

Vättern Rundan is approaching fast. Currently the start is in 11 days. The good thing is I think I have prepared physically  as well as I possible could. Riding 350km in April and  650km in May puts me well over the recommended 1000km. I have also ridden two trips over 200km so I know what it is like riding tired and in the cold. Unfortunately I don’t have experience riding in a group in the dark and I need to sort out what to pack. Once I make sure the bike is in good shape I think I will be as ready as I will ever be. The last week and half I will spend resting and sorting out the details.

My start time is in the evening so the hardest thing will be to find ways to cope with the dark and the cold.  I started the season early so I have accustomed to riding with cold feet. I don’t have shoe covers so I think I will just put on two pairs of socks and plastic bags in both feet. Keeping feet warm will be important, because cold blood from the feet affects the big muscles in the legs. I will carry a small bag on my back to carry some extra clothing. As far as lighting goes I will take the chinese “owl” lamp. The only thing is I’m not sure if the charger actually works and whether the light will hold up. I think I will need to test it and have a backup just in case.

Just to do a bit of cycling the amount of clothing, tools and other stuff to take along is pretty staggering. Luckily somebody bit more experienced has gathered a pretty comprehensive list (in finnish only, sorry). The only purchases I’m planning to make are a pair of riding glasses for the dark. It might be good idea to buy knee warmers or long pants, but testing new gear in an event like this is going to be risky. In the end I think I will just go with the stuff I already own and know. It has been quite cold and wet recently so maybe I will be in luck and Sweden will show its best weather.

As far as the bike goes there are couple of hitches, but I think I will not do too much bike tuning. Most notably there is a creak in the new saddle and off the saddle on the right crank.  I will still have a look, but I will probably just clean and lube the chain. Full on maintenance will be saved for later. In the end the most important thing is to make sure I’m rested and mentally prepared for the ordeal ahead of me. It will surely be hell, but if you never try you will never fail. My plan is to dig deep and finish.

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