I had set fairly formidable goal for my third Vättern Rundan sportive. Heading into the event the weather forecasts were not looking promising, but I was still pumped to do my best. In the end it was not the rain and the wind that caused me to fail. I made some tactically bad moves that I just need to learn from. Even though I’m pretty disappointed I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. At least I made it through safe and sound and the trip with the Team-Jape crew was lot of fun (see the video by Esa).
Looking back my most crucial mistakes was that I didn’t pay attention to what is happening in the group. I was at the front in the beginning of the biggest hill of the course and after doing my turn I couldn’t squeeze myself in. I pretty much fell all the way to the back of the group that was already stretched out in a single line. I didn’t think much of it at the time as I was just making sure I keep the wheel. At some point I noticed the group had split and there was really very little I could to do at that point. There is just no way to catch a big fast group like that.
There were some minor things that I should definitely improve on. First of all I should always make sure the bike setup is 100% dialed. Now I had my seat 5mm too low and the saddle was constantly moving, either pointing little up or little down. On a long exhausting ride that annoys you to no end. The front derailleur was acting up before the ride so I just used the big ring the whole way. The only remedy to these things is to ride enough with the setup and not tinker with things at the last moment like I did.
The weather forecast was promising rain, but it was no supposed to be cold. I knew this, but still I think I had too much clothing on. One reason was that I had bad memories from 2014 when it was much colder. The other thing is that I had broken my saddle bag earlier so I had stuff my tools in the jersey pocket. With all the gels and bars I couldn’t fit the gilet in the back pockets also. I ended up overheating myself as the merino wool jersey alone would have been fine for the evening.
On a 10-hour ride eating and drinking regularly is the best way to avoid totally losing motivation. I think I managed to keep hydrated for the first three hours, but after that I didn’t drink and eat enough. Once you get tired it is harder to keep track of time and concentrate on doing things as planned. One of the bars was awfully dry and I really had trouble getting it down. I also had forgotten to pre-open the gels. I had two bottles, but I carried the second one around the lake without ever even touching it.
With all the bad there were of course good things as well. First of all I hang on with the fast group for couple of km longer than in my previous best effort. The end time was my best for night time riding. Having good company (Oliver, Antti, Kari, Päivi) along the route was great. I really couldn’t have kept the pace if it wasn’t for them. I also managed to psyche some others (Heikki, Niko) to fullfil their potential. So all in all it was a good experience with Team Jape. I think at some point in the night I promised myself I would never do it again, but it would be fun to end the trip in more festive mood on the boat.