Tour of Jotunheimen

Tour of Jotunheimen 1993

by Jørn Dahl-Stamnes

The Tour of Jotunheimen is a new cycling event in Norway arranged by Sogndal Cykle Klubb. It was first arranged in 1991 when 27 riders tried the tough course. I tried it in 1992, but I have to give in after 180 km due to stomach problem. But since I'm a bit stubborn, I told my self that I should make this ride some day. This year I did, and here is my report.

The course

This ride is the toughest ride in Norway. Even if The Tour of Jotunheimen is shorter than The Great Trial of Strength (which goes from Trondheim to Oslo), it is much harder since there is so much climbing involved in this ride. The Tour of Jotunheimen starts in Lærdal at sea level and goes up the Lærdals valley side by side with the Lærdals river. On the way up to the top of Filefjell mountain we pass the famous Borgun church which is from around year 1150. An identical copy of this church i located in the USA (if I'm not wrong I think it is the one in Rapid City in South Dakota).

Soon after the church the real climb up to the top begins, which brings us up to 1013 meter (3323 feet) above sea level. After the top we pass Nystuen hotel where the first food station is. The descending down to lake Vangsmjøsi is fast for the first 15 km before it get flat again. The road will take us to Fagernes (almost 400 meter (1300 feet) above sea level) and the second food station. From Fagernes we follow the road up to Beitostølen and the third food station. From there the road continue and brings us up to the top of the Valdresfløya mountain at 1389 meters (4557 feet) above sea level. From the top we get a superb view of the other mountains, the lakes and the glaciers.

The road down from Valdresfløya pass lake Bygdin, lake Gjende, the well-known Besseggen and follow the Sjoa river, an excellent place for organised rafting, and continue down to Randsverk and the forth food station. 15 km later we reach an 8 km long downhill with up to 15% descending. If you don't touch your brakes and have no cars in front of you, you can reach 80 km/h without pedalling. The descending ends in an 180 deg. turn in an intersection, so keep your brake ready.

The tour continue along lake Vågåvatn to Lom and another food station where dinner will be served. Lom county have the two highest mountains in Norway, Galdhøpiggen (2469 meter (8100 feet) above sea level) and Glitretind (a bit lower). From Lom, at about 350 meter (1100 feet) above sea level, we take the famous Sognefjell road through Bøverdalen valley where the sides are so steep that they cultivate the land on both side!

The road have two major climbs, both about 10 km long. The first one takes you 400 meter (1300 feet) up and the second one 500 meter (1600 feet). The worst parts of the two climbs are about 10%. The highest point is 1435 meter (4708 feet) above sea level, which is the highest mountain pass in northern part of Europe. Even if the calendar say that we are in the middle of July, there are plenty of snow at this level. Some of the snowdrifts close to the road can be several meters high. You will meet several skiers close to the road.

The descending down from Sognefjell mountain is fantastic. 30 km downhill where the last 14 km takes us down more than 1150 meter (3700 feet). But the 14 hairpin turns prevent us from gaining astronomic speeds. The problem is that all braking make the rims so hot that the glue on sew-ups may melt and the tire can be ripped off in one of the hairpins.

The descending take us down to Sognefjorden fjord, which is the longest fjord in the world. When you reach the fjord there are still 60 km left with one 300 meter (980 feet) high climb before you reach the finish in Sogndal. The total length is 430 km (267 miles) and about 3800 meter (12400 feet) of climbing. The maximum time a rider can use is 32 hours.

The Tour of Jotunheimen

This tour will never be a ride for the masses, since it demand a lot of training, especially hill climbing. To participate one must be well trained and must have the guts to resist rain, wind, cold and warm weather. You also have to be psychologically strong - you must be able to push you self to the limit and even beyond that. Except from service at the food stations, the riders must be self supported since support from following cars are not allowed. Support from a car is only allowed at the food stations.

Since the number of participitations are relatively small, the organiser can afford to give each rider good individual service. Arriving to a food station was like entering a fine restaurant. They will take care of your bike so that you can use your time at the food table. They will also fill up your bottles with something if you ask (sometime they ask you before you get off the bike).

Before the ride

I didn't do much preparation before this tour. I wasn't sure if I could make it since is so difficult to get to the start with public transportation. Since I don't have a car, the only way for me to get there except to travel through half of Norway, is to get a lift by someone else. If I should travel to Lærdal by public transportation, I must have taken the train to Oslo and the a bus to Lærdal. I got several friends (team-mates) who was going to drive from Trondheim to Sogndal and Lærdal, but non of them planned to drive back, which mean I would be stucked in Sogndal after the ride. A week before the ride I got a phone from one of my team-mates that he was going to drive to Sogndal and that he could give me a lift back to Otta where I could take the train back to Trondheim.

There where three other from our team that should drive from Trondheim. The plan was to drive together down to Sogndal, park the cars and ride over to Lærdal the day before the tour. We started from Trondheim early Friday morning. The weather looked very good, but the forecast for Saturday (the race day) was not as good as we wanted it to be. Some possibilities for showers. But we was hoping that we should have the same weather as we had on the tour down to Sogndal - sun, almost no wind and around 20 to 25 deg. C.

We reached Sogndal Friday evening around 6 pm, and began to change into our uniforms. We used about 1/2 hour to find out what to take with us and what to leave behind in the cars. One of the riders should drive over to Lærdal, so he took most of our luggage that we needed for the night (sleeping bag, food etc). It was nice to know that he didn't have to ride with a big rucksack in the heat. The temperature in Sogndal was above 25 deg. C when we left on our bikes.

The ride over to Lærdal was easy. No need to hurry on since we had plenty of time. After a short uphill with a following descend we had to stop to wait for the ferry. When we came, a ferry was ready to go. The gate was closed and the ferryman was looking at us to check if we wanted to go over. He looked at us and we looked at him for some seconds before he signalled to the bridge and the captain that they should leave. We was a bit mad at him since we thought that he could have waited. We later found out that it was the wrong ferry. The one we should go with had not arrived yet. We had to wait for about 30 minutes before the right ferry came. While waiting we spoked with two from Germany who was on vacation. They rode on a motorcycle, and was showing us where they was planning to go this evening. They still had nearly 180 km left. We asked them how far they could drive during a day, and they told us that after 200 km on the road theirs back would hurt. We was going to ride 430 km the next day. What about our backs?

On the road on the other side of the fjord was easy and almost flat. We reached Lærdal around 8 pm and found the two other riders from our team. They have been on a vacation and had arrived earlier on the day. I unpacked my luggage and prepared myself to go to sleep very early. I know that I would not get much sleep before the start, since the start is at 4 am in the morning! Before I went to sleep I eat some of the food I had brought with me and took a short walk to find a phonebox, so that I could phone home and tell that everything was OK.

It was difficult to sleep. It was hot, some of the other riders was snoring and other was still up. But I think I managed to get some hours of sleep before the lights was turned on at 3 am Saturday morning. I went outside to check the weather while eating. It was still dark, a bit cold and almost no clouds, which mean it would be much warmer during the day. I went inside again and joined the famous discussion about what to wear. Someone thought it would be very cold while others was willing to take a chance and take as little cloths as possible with them.

First I thought that it would be enough with cycling shorts, a short sleeve jersey, gloves without fingers and no shoe covers. But after the second time outside I changed my mind and took a long sleeve shirt under the jersey (made of fabrics that transport the sweat away from the body). I put a rain coat in my saddle pack and long tights and glows with long fingers in my front bag. After going to the bathroom, I packed my sleeping bag and delivered my luggage for transportation back to Sogndal. I joined the other and rode down to the start area.

The Tour

The first group of riders started at 4 am. This was the racing group, which is for those who want to ride as fast as possible. But most of us wanted to take this as a tour. At least that was what me meant at that time. We started 10 minutes later. The speed wasn't high in the beginning, and I suspected that people wanted to get warm before speeding up. And since we all was riding in one group, some of the riders was slower than the rest. The first 30 km is almost flat even if the profile map show a slow uphill to Filefjell mountain. I guess that the steep valley sides made the road look like it was flat. It wasn't much happening on the climb except that we passed Borgun church. This year I got a short glimpse of it while passing. Last year the weather was so bad (rain and fog) that I didn't notice the church, even if it is very close to the road. When the climb began to get steeper I began to feel that my body didn't work as well as I wanted it to do. But my heart rate monitor showed that my heart rate was much lower than last year. On the hardest climbs my heart rate was up to 180 last year, but this time it was going up and down between 150 to 165. The group started to split up during the climb, as expected.

When I crossed a bridge, my front wheel hit a pit in the asphalt and something popped out of my front bag, which was half-open. I looked back and saw a Kodak filmbox laying in the road. I had a camera in the bag so that I could take pictures during the ride. And since I had two extra rolls of films, I could afford loosing one. No big loss and no need nor time to stop and pick it up. But the fact that something could pop out of the bag while riding made me think. Maybe I should lock the bag?

It was still early in the morning when we reached the top of Filefjell mountain. The sun was still low on the sky and some light clouds covered it partly. The temperature was lower now than when we started, so my feet's and my fingers was cold. We reached the first food station 2 hours and 29 minutes after the start (see times at the end of this report). Before the start we (our team) had discussed if we should stop at the first food station or not. Some had the opinion that we should continue without stopping, but I insisted that we should stop so that we (or I) could get something to eat and drink. I didn't have enough food from the start, only two bananas, so I was relying on a stop on every food station. On the way up the mountain we asked the other riders if they planned to stop on the first food station, and since most of them should, we agreed that we all should stop. And so we did. The first thing i did was to relieve myself. I wasn't finish with that before someone shouted out "Come on, we're leaving", and I shouted back "Hey, I have to fill up my bottle and get something to eat!". I managed to fill one bottle with water, grab three bananas and four slices of bread before I hit the road again. I have never been in such a hurry during a stop on a food station. I was the second last rider out of the food station, and the rest was already several hundred meters in front of me. They didn't ride fast, so I had no problem with catching up with them. I told them that the stop was a bit short and some agreed with me.

The descending down to lake Vangsmjøsi wasn't as fast as I expected since many of the riders our team was riding with didn't pedal enough when in front of the pace line. Many riders didn't pedal at all, and the riders behind was using their brakes until they was tired with braking. Then they cranked a bit and passed the front rider. Along the lake I began to eat the food I collected at the food station and began to feel better. The closer I came to Fagernes, the better I felt.

The stop at the food station at Fagernes was long enough for all. I loaded up my jersey pocket with more bananas and took several slices of bread with salami and cheese with me. The front bag worked as a table for me during the ride since I didn't bother to eat on the food station. Instead I used the time to take some shots of the other riders. After all, if I didn't use the camera I was carrying, it would be waste of energy to drag around with it.

Only 10 minutes after we left Fagernes we got the first flat in our group. It happened behind me, and we passed the message to the front riders that they should stop and wait. Everyone stopped to wait for the rider to fix the flat. And he took his time. He was using clinchers and had to change the inner tube. While he and another rider was working with changing the tube, we began the discussion pros and cons with sew-ups versus clinchers. Of cause, the sew-ups won the discussion. I also used the break to empty one of my bottle of water. I got three bottles on the bike, one mounted under the (fat Cannondale) down tube. And since the distance to the next food station was 30 km and only uphill I thought that it wasn't necessary to carry that much water with me.

On the climb up to Beitostølen I began to feel better and better. My body was working so great that I couldn't believe it. While some of my team-mates began to struggle to keep up with the speed, I sitting cranking up all the 5% grade climbs in 53x17 and 53x19 gear while eating and drinking. And my heart rate was more or less constant around 150 beats pr. minutes (doesn't it sounds like Indurain?). The feeling of being in such a good shape was great, and I was hoping that things should stay like that for many many hours. Some km's before the next stop, one rider broke out of the group and pushed as hard as he could. I asked some of the other riders why and got a reply that he needed to go to the rest room and wanted to get some extra time.

We stopped at Beitostølen to get more food and water. The film-team from the NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) was waiting for us. I saw them at the start in Lærdal, but I thought that they only cared about the racing group. But now they seems to have more interest for us. After filling up my bottles and picking up some bread and bananas I moved over to the bike again and was ready to go. We was about to leave when three of my team-mates, who have been struggling on the climb up to Beitostølen, told us that they wanted to stay a bit longer and that we could leave if we wanted. I and Arne (the leader of our team) joined a group of eight riders and left.

The climb from Beitostølen up Valdresfløya mountain was hard. The first part was rather easy, and I managed to eat a banana and a slice of bread during the climb. After 6 km of climbing we got a rest during a slow downhill before the last 5 km long climb up to the top of Valdresfløya at 1389 meter (4557 feet) above sea level. The temperature has increased and people began to feel it. It was no wind on the climb up and the sun was shining, no clouds to give shadow. Some of the riders took their helmet off. The NRK film-team was filming us during the climb, so I smiled and tried to look as if the climb didn't affect me. The climb is like a "killer hill", since you see the top. When you reach the top, you discover that this wasn't the real top - there is another top some hundred meter away. After reaching the top several times we finally reached the real top where we took a short stop so that some of use could relieve ourselves. One rider leaned his bike to a parked camping wagon, and while he was looking for something in his front bag, the car and the wagon began to move. The bike felt down and the rider could not do anything else but to laugh. As we stood there I spotted a large group of reindeers close to the road. It must have been several hundred reindeers in the group. I hoped that they stayed there. I would not be on my bike if they found out that they should cross the road at the same place where we was riding. Later I was told that the reindeers was crossing the road when my three team-mates, who staid behind at Beitostølen, came by. The reindeers almost ran them down.

After the stop we had a 10 km long descend waiting for us. The descend took us 400 meters (1300 feet) down before the course get more flat again. During the descending I tried to eat, but now my stomach told me that it needed more rest after the climb before I could eat. I felt that the stomach was about to threw up what I just eat. Not a god sign since we were only half way. After the descend I tried to eat more, but I still had some problem with eating. I know that the good feeling I had on the way up to Beitostølen was history and it would never return again. From now I had to struggle to keep up the speed and to eat. And I wasn't the only one who had problems. Since I was the only rider in the group that had a profile map with me, they asked me several times how long it was to the next food station.

At last we reached Randverk where the forth food station is. We stopped and everyone seems to have plenty of time. I relieved my self before I filled up my bottles with water. I also drank two glasses with a non-alcoholic beer which contain a lot of energy. Since my stomach still accepted bananas, I brought with me three bananas and three slices of bread with salami and cheese. Before we left I took several pictures of the other riders, and I also got someone to take a picture of me.

15 km after Randsverk we reached the steepest descend on the course. It takes us 500 meter down to the lake Vågåvatn. The beginning of the 8 km long descending is not very steep, but the speed gets up to around 70 km/h without pedalling. The group began to split up early in the descend since some of us wanted to feel the thrill of the speed and was pedalling to keep the speed as high as possible. On the last part of the descend the speed increased to 78 km/h (the maximum speed recorded on my cyclo computer). If it hasn't been for a car in front of us, the speed would have been higher even without pedalling. But the car held us back and we had to brake. The descending ends in a 180 degree turn in an intersection. The road we should enter is major road, and under normal conditions we had to yield for the traffic. But the organiser had two people stopping the traffic in both directions so that we could safely enter the main road.

After the sharp turn the road continues to Lom and the fifth food station where they served dinner. The road is more or less flat according to the profile map (a new and more accurate profile map has been made after this tour), but there is a small climb (about 100 (330 feet) meter up) before we reach Lom. We also got a rather strong headwind which slowed us down. While struggling in the headwind I managed to eat one slice of bread and a banana, but I began to get more and more exhausted. I was only thinking about the dinner at Lom. What would they serve us? Would my stomach accept it? And how much should I try to eat?

I got the answer to my questions when we reached Lom. The dinner was rice and meat. I asked for a small portion of dinner and sat down in a chair. While waiting for the dinner to cool down, I found out that it was time to put on some sun lotion on my arms to avoid getting sunburned. I also took off the long sleeve shirt which I have been riding with since the start. The dinner tasted good, and my stomach accepted it without much problem. But I didn't dare eat more than the portion I got. I filled up two of my bottles with mineral water and the third one with water. I knew that I had to have plenty of water with me since I had a very long and hard climb in front of me through a long hot valley.

After a long pause (15-20 minutes) Arne and I wanted to continue, but it wasn't easy to get the rest of the group with us. The film-team from NRK who was filming us, told us that we had to shout and get the rest of the group with us. So I shouted out "Hey, come on, we want to leave". But it took some minutes before we could begin cycling again. The only problem with the food station was that it was located in the middle of the Lom, and due to all the tourists, we had to use the rest room if we needed to relieve ourselves. And you know where the queue is, don't you?. So before we left Lom I suggested that we should take a short stop soon after so that we could to the things we needed to do out in the nature.

The first 25 km up through the beautiful Bøverdalen valley was easy. Most of the time the ascending is so slow that we hardly felt it. But since I was exhausted I began to get problem hanging on during the few short uphills. I was not the only one. Before we hit the first steep climb we lost to riders. And at the bottom of the first major climb (8% grade) it was my turn to drop back. The distance between me and rest of the group slowly increased until I lost eye contact with them. I was totally exhausted and I was not able to eat anymore. I knew that if I should make it to Sogndal I had to be very hard to myself - I had to keep on pedalling. I was so glad that I had installed a 13-26 rear cluster on my bike. Most of the time I was sitting while cranking in the 39x26 gear. A low gear like that helped me a lot. The only thing that worried me during the climb was if my knees would sustain it. I have had some minor pains during climbs earlier this season, but sofar the knees worked fine.

The two steep climbs up to the top of Sognefjell is about 8-9 km each, but I had to stop several times during the climbs to gather more energy for the rest of the climb. I had some energy tablets with me which I ate and swallowed down with mineral water. The tablets worked instantly, and they gave me the energy that kept me going. I found any excuses to stop - a mountain that I had to take a picture of etc. When I reached the top of the first steep climb I knew that I should make it to Sogndal. I had about 10 km of riding before the next major climb, first a slow downhill where I could rest and then a few km along a mountain lake. Before I began on the last long climb up to the top, I stopped at the bottom of the hill and asked a German if he had seen a small group or riders passing. He told me that it was only 10 minutes since they passed. I talked with him for several minutes (another excuse for a long break) about the ride and the course. They hardly believe that we voluntarily would do this and even pay for it.

Before I began climbing again, I took several energy tablets and swallowed them with water. I was about to get on my bike again when I spotted a rider coming toward me. It was one of the riders who we lost earlier on the climb. I joined him and together we started on the last uphill. The top was only 10 km away, but after 2 or 3 km I noticed that the other rider began to slow down. He didn't have as low gear as I had, so he was struggling more than me. But I also felt that it got harder and harder, and I had to stop again for some minutes to recover. I was so drained of energy that I had problem with standing and walking. A big car had parked by the road with a racing wheel on the roof, and I remember seeing the same car at the start in Lærdal the day before. I walked over to the driver and asked if she got any coke. She had a bottle with Pepsi and I could have as much as I liked. I filled one of my bottle half full with Pepsi and drank some of it before I continued. On the next stop the rider who lost me catched up with me again. While we were recovering and preparing for the last 2 km of the climb, three sheep's approached us. I guess they are used to being feed by the tourist, and that they would check if we had something to give them. I still had three slices of bread that I brought with me from Randsverk. Since my stomach didn't want them, I gave them to the sheep's.

After feeding the sheep's we continued up the hill again. I know from last year that the last 2 km was the hardest part of the climb with up to 10%. Under normal conditions it shouldn't been any big problem with climbing it, but with over 340 km in my legs, the hill was tough. I have been told that many riders get off theirs bike and walk up this part, but I told myself that I should ride up on my bike! One km before reaching the food station at Songefjell I stopped at the highest point, 1436 meter (4711 feet) above sea level. I got a German tourist to take a picture of me with the sign showing the height in the background.

I stopped at the food station to fill up my bottles with Pepsi and mineral water. I didn't want anything to eat even if it was more than three hours since I eat dinner at Lom. I asked if they knew how far back the other riders was. They told me that a small group of riders was about 10 minutes back and that my team-mates we lost at Beitostølen was in that group (later I got a message that they arrived Lom 10 minutes after we left). When I got that message, I wanted to go right away on my own trying to ride all the way to Sogndal without any help from other riders. Before I left the top of Sognefjell I look on the long sleeve shirt and changed to glows with long finger. The temperature was somewhere around 10 deg. C at the top. It would be cold during the first part of the long descending down to the fjord.

The first part of the descending is easy with a few short uphills. Then, after 2 to 3 km there are no more uphills - only down down down - faster and faster. On the way down I passed several cars, caravans and people on mountain bikes (people on a cycling vacation). There are 14 hairpins I have to go through during the way down. They are so sharp that I had to brake down from 60-70 km/h to 10-20 km/h. I also had to avoid pits and stones in the turns. I don't know how hot the rims got when I applied my brakes, but I have been told that riders have had the back tired ripped off in one of the hairpins because the glue melted. But I did not have any problem during the descending except that before the last hairpin a group of cars was blocking the road (I could have held a much higher speed than them) and it was impossible to pass them. I had to use my brakes for about a minute or so before I reached the last hairpin. I thought my back wheel acted a bit strange during the turn. It must have been the braking that have heated up the rim and the glue that caused the funny feeling.

The temperature increased rapidly during the descending. I stopped at the bottom of the descend to take off the long sleeve shirt and to change gloves. A minute later I began pedalling along the fjord to the last food station before the finish in Sogndal. It was beginning to get late in the evening and the traffic was very low. The sun was still shining over the mountains, the temperature was find and no wind. I tried to eat a banana, but that was all my stomach wanted. I managed to increase the speed from around 25 km/h to 30 km/h despite that my body was totally exhausted. The ride down Sognefjell mountain gave me time to recover, but without any food for the last 5 hours it wasn't much left.

At Gaupne I stopped to get something to drink at the food station. They offered me something to eat, but I would not have anything to eat. I told them that I haven't eat anything except for one banana since I left Lom. They could not believe how I could continue without food. My answer was "I can't believe it myself!". While I was talking to them, a rider came by and continued without stopping. I knew that it was about 1 km from the food station to the last 300 meter high climb before the finish. So I left to join him hoping we could do the work together up the hill and to the finish.

I catched up with him at the bottom of the climb and we rode together up the hill. He was working hard, harder than I did, and half way up he began to slow down. I slowed down too, but he told me that I should not wait for him. I looked at the clock and thought that maybe I could manage to get to Songdal under 17 hours if I took out the last of my energy resources. I changed to a higher gear and began pedalling harder. It didn't took long before the rider behind me was out of eye sight. I continue to keep a high speed up the hill until I was almost at the top. Then I began to feel that my stomach complained about the increased effort. I had to slow down again, and I realised that I would not make it under 17 hours. I still had 10 km flat riding before the last downhill. My stomach became more and more upset when I began descending down to the fjord again. I didn't pedal at all during the descending. I tried not to do much to avoid a stomach disaster. But since the last 10 km after the descending is flat I had to pedal, and several times I was about to stop to throw up, but I avoided it.

17 hours and 14 minutes after the start I passed the finish line in Sogndal. Several spectators and riders who had arrived before me was applauding. I got off my bike shaking. I have never been so exhausted after a race before and I hoped that I will never be so exhausted again. I found a chair and sat down to rest and to try to find out if my stomach wanted any food, because my brain wanted something to eat. The organiser had a huge grill where they served hamburgers, chops and sausages. I still had a banana in my front bag. As I joke I took it and asked if they could grill it for me. They did! I told them that I was only joking, and that they could take the banana and throw it away. I found out that I had to try and see if I could eat something, so I began with an ice-cream hoping that something cold will calm down the stomach. And it seemed to help. After the ice-cream I tried a hamburger and potatoes. It tasted OK, so after the first one I asked for another one. While eating the hamburgers I noticed that the couple sitting next to me and was studying my bike, had a very American accent, so I asked where they came from. They told me that they lived (almost) next to the Cannondale factory in Pennsylvania. BTW, his name was Bruce Frech and got a 13th place.

After I had eaten I waited for the other team-mates to arrive. My clots was locked in the car to one of my team-mates who was still out riding. And I hoped that he wasn't too far away. 32 minutes later he arrived and I could get the keys to his car. I walked to the car and got my clots before I walked to the hotel where I could take a hot shower and a sauna. After the sauna and the shower, I walked back to the finish area to talk with my team-mates. My stomach began to be upset again, but I know that the worst was over. Some hours of sleep would cure it, so I didn't stay long before heading for the school where we should sleep during the night. 30 minutes later I could lay down and sleep.

The next day

I woke up around 7 am Sunday morning. The sleep during the night hasn't been the best, but I felt rather good under the circumstances. Being used with sleeping in a water bed, the wood floor and a thin sleeping under-layer isn't exactly the same. I went outside to sit in the sunshine. Some of the other riders was also outside, and we talked about the ride. Someone told us that we might find food at the finish area, so we went down and found a table with bread, jam, salami and more. The last rider hasn't arrived yet, and since the organiser should arrange a short ride for the those living in Sogndal later that Sunday, all of the equipment was still there.

An hour later we left Sogndal. We drove back on the same road where we was riding the day before. On the last climb we passed the last rider heading for Sogndal. He was walking up the hill and he look very tired. I don't think he have been riding during the night. The organiser offers sleeping facilities at the food station at Lom, so I guess that he have spent the night there. For us the ride was over, just a number of pictures and the memory of a great event. The weather could not have been better, except for the headwind we got around Lom. The summary for the ride can be written by one word, GREAT.


When comparing this ride with others like The Great Trial of Strength and other rides I've been participating in during the last years, The Tour of Jotunheimen win. It is a school example of how to arrange a tour like this. You feel welcome from the beginning, they offer very good service and give you a very warm welcome when you arrive Sogndal after the ride.

One reason for the good service is that the number of riders are low compared to e.g. The Great Trial of Strength, but compared with other rides with twice as many riders, the service is excellent. Another reason is the support from the local business.

Many of the riders brings their family with them, and the organiser have something for them too. During the Saturday they offer entertainment and grill food in Sogndal at the finish. It seems like the most of the community is on their feet to make The Tour of Jotunheimen to the greatest cycling event of all in Norway.

Wanna join me next year? If you want more information, click here.

Numeric information

Location    distance      time  avg.speed
Nystuen        65 km   2:29:15      26.85
Fagernes      145 km   4:44:21      30.60
Beitostølen   184 km   6:24:17      28.73
Randsverk     249 km   8:52:45      28.04
Lom           292 km  10:46:32      27.14
Sognefjell    344 km  14:04:05      24.45
Gaupne        403 km  16:04:23      25.07
Sogndal       430 km  17:14:38      24.94
Total time      : 17:14:38
Riding time     : 16:16:25
Average speed   : 24.94 km/h    (15.50 mph)
Maximum speed   : 78 km/h       (48.77 mph)
Climbing        : 4200 meter    (13800 feet)

Heart rate data:
Target zone     : 175 - 145
Time above tz   :         0
Time within tz  :   5:30:20
Time under tz   :  11:22:30

All times are recorded when leaving the food station at the locations except for the last one which is the finish. You may find the target zone a bit high. The 175 - 145 is the target zone I use when training and doing short races (under 200 km). On longer races like this and The Great Trial of Strength I use the target zone 170 - 130, but I forgot to change the zone before the tour. Also note that if you add the time used within and under the target zone, you will find that 22 minutes is missing. I don't know why, but this is not new for me. On almost all long tours there is always some time missing.

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I made this! Jørn Dahl-Stamnes