Monday, 26 May 2014

Hovden Bicycle Race 2014

Adam from Visit Sørlandet travelled to Hovden for the Color Line Hovden bicycle race (Color Line Setesdal Tour).

My wife has been training almost every day for the annual bicycle race. She is in a group from Tveit called the Ryen og Omegn Cykleklubb (ROC) that have been training in both the winter and spring. (I am also happy to say I a while ago I designed their COOL logo).

Of course it is not possible to bicycle outdoors in the winter (well you can if you have spikes on your tyres for the ice and snow) so the team have spinning classes. As soon as the snow has gone, they start out on the street again.

It is not just a matter of buying a bike and doing some training. There is a lot of preparations to be made and you need the right equipment. Gloves, helmet, lycra pants and top, water bottles, emergency replacement parts for the bike and of course the bike itself.

I bought my wife a used GIANT bicycle two years ago when she starting to ride and after changing the handle bars, she was satisfied with the bike. However it was not specifically designed for women. She used that bike to ride to Hovden last year in seven hours and thirty minutes. This year however, her team were determined to do the race in six hours and thirty minutes. One whole hour off the time!

So, with the help of one of the team leaders, she bought a new FUJI womens racing bike made from carbon. I cannot mention how much the bike cost, because I am trying to forget about that!

Anyway she could not believe how much the new bike improved her riding and time. 'This bike is amazing. It is a completely different experience and so much easier to ride.'

I drove up the night before and stayed at her cousins cabin in Fjellparken. The next morning we met up with the other supporters for the club who far outnumbered any other club. A true support network.

They all had the same teeshirts and banners chanting for the club.

I met a couple of young boys that were responsible for the barriers and ensuring that the riders went in the right direction after they finished. They were quite proud of their job.

 I also interviewed a couple of locals that had friends competing.

One of the most touching interviews was with a father and son that come over the finish line after seven hours and 56 minutes. At first I was not sure why they had a tandem bike but when they stopped shortly after the finish line I quickly understood. His father lifted his son off the bike where he collapsed on the ground from exhaustion. There they hugged and I guess cried a little. The crowd clapped and cheered for them. It was very special. I wandered over after they had sat down and chatted to them. Words cannot really explain the emotion I felt as we spoke. His son has Cerebral palsy and has completed the Hovden tour three times.

Of all the stupid little things in life we complain about. It is really not worth the stress or fuss and in the great grand scheme of things, mean nothing. This father and son relationship and bond is inspirational. I am 100% sure that they do not stress over the little problems in life. (They have enough to think about)

It was great to see that my wife's team was the first to cross the line (because they were in the first heat to leave). The supporters went wild!

Anyway before I got as chance to speak to her, the local paper interviewed my wife and her cousin in a touching short video.

I am very proud of her. She has trained incredibly hard for a long time and deserves all the credit for a fantastic ride. She completed the race in six hours and forty one minutes. She says that she will not do it next year, but she later admitted that she loves the team, the experience and the satisfaction of completing the race. So, she will be back.

The club put up a tent the night before and so there was a party after everyone had a chance to relax a little. There were many speeches with prizes and thanks given to those that made it possible and helped along the way. With great food and company, it was the perfect party.

On the way home to Kristiansand, the sun was shining and the scenery breath taking.

I think a good quote for Norway would be, Norway: Nature on steroids. It probably will not be used in any marketing brochures, but it is a funny quote anyway...

Congratulation to all that rode 210 kilometres from Kristiansand to Hovden. Good work!

1 comment:

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