As a precaution, this year’s mountain bike racing season has been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although they’re not competing, cyclists still need to stay in shape and be able to do so in an enjoyable way.
So, Norwegian national marathon champion Ole Hem from Wilier Force 7C team, who hails from Gjerdrum, just east of Oslo, created his own personal challenge, along with fellow cyclist and triathlete, Eirik Brunland.
Their itinerary began and ended in familiar places. They departed from the Hem family home near Drammen, arriving at Eirik’s house in Trondheim. Their route wound among features that have always typified the Norwegian landscape: the fjords. The waterbodies the two cyclists followed seem like something straight off the pages of a Jules Verne novel: Tyrifjorden, Hardandenfjord, Sognefjorden (the world’s second longest fjord). Their path culminated in an authentic paradise, long considered a tourist mecca: Western Norway’s Vestlandet region.
There, the road winds along fjords that are crisscrossed by bridges, and places where it’s difficult to tell whether you’re on an island or the mainland.
Ole Hem and Eirik Brunland pedalled for seven days. They climbed the spectacular Trollstingen road. And, despite it being June, they ran into snow in the passes in Hardangervidda National Park.
In all, they rode 1300 kilometres with 20,000 metres of difference in altitude on some of the world’s most breath-taking roads.
Ole is Norwegian and familiar with such landscapes, yet he was moved by the adventure in Vestlandet: “When we arrived in Throndeim, exhausted after having just completed the longest stage at 253 kilometres, we knew that this trip was something we’d never forget.”
In addition to Eirik, Ole’s other faithful travel companion was a Wilier 0 SLR.
“I’m not used to bikepacking, so I was a bit concerned: how would the size of the packs affect the handling of my Wilier 0 SLR during the many descents? I didn’t have to worry though, because the disc brakes made the ride really trouble-free, even in wet conditions. My road bike was super reliable, so riding was easy and carefree despite the weight of my luggage and the sometimes difficult road surface. This was fundamental for fully enjoying the beauty of our adventure.”