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GravelBikes.Online Explore: Swede Dreams


It doesn’t matter how carefully you approach an ultra-cycling event. And it doesn’t matter how often you tell yourself to take it easy because the days are going to be long and hard. And no matter how hard you try to convince your friends that you’re taking the most conscious approach.

Somewhere, hidden in the back of your mind, you know you’re going to start at full throttle without even realizing it, especially if you start with a bit of a headwind and there’s a rider in his last year as a pro between your friends.

That’s when the excitement can slip away, and on a 2,000+ kilometer ride, you could only hit the first 240km at an average speed of 40km/h. wow

“We’ve got a long way to go and maybe we should start carrying it a bit,” POC’s Damian Phillips said after the start. “It’s not about having a great day today. We have to do seven big days”.

Phillips and his colleague Magnus Gustavsson had a different plan for the Sverigetempot. The event, which translates into English as The Swedish Time Triallist, is a 2,115.2 km long self-sustained endurance road race that covers the length of Sweden from Riksgränsen (in the north) to Smygehuk (in the south) . His plan was tough: to travel the length of Sweden in seven days and log 300 km trips each day. But they wanted to take it easy, enjoy it and sleep in hotels at night.

It still wouldn’t be a walk in the park to cover that kind of distance in one day, for seven days straight. But the light was on their side as they planned to ride all day into the magical Swedish midnight sun.

But then, due to the close collaboration between POC and EF Education-EasyPost, the most famous “tache” in the professional peloton decided to join: Mitch Docker. And, at first, that was a bit of honey. You might think that Mitch is this laid-back Aussie who will just go along and chill. He sure is a fun and nice guy, and he also likes a cold beer. But when he entered Sverigetempot in July 2021, he was still a pro rider based in Girona, training hard (he retired at the end of that season). So it took him a bit of a transition to the very different reality of amateur endurance rides.

“At the end of the day, I like to push the pedals and I like to feel tired,” says Docker from his artistic office room in Melbourne, which is decorated with abstract and colorful paintings. “But this time [at Sverigetempot], it wasn’t just me. There were three of us. And you are only as fast as your slowest rider. So it wasn’t fun for them to just hang onto my back wheel and be on edge the whole time. So teamwork came back.”

Pro cycling didn’t just teach Docker how to push big watts and ride fast. It also led him to understand other people’s priorities and what they like best. He realized he didn’t want to bring the WorldTour vibe to an amateur race. So he slowed down a notch (or maybe two), soaked it all in, and learned from what was unfolding around him. For a number of reasons, this change in mindset and focus at Sverigetempot has been a preparation for his new life after professional sports.

“I’ve never done anything like this in my life,” he says. “And what I understood from this event, from Damian, Magnus, and also from seeing other people, is to simply enjoy the experience. But I almost needed 2,000 kilometers, seven days in a row, 10 hour days of pedaling to get it out of me.”

Adapting to the continuously evolving reality, reassessing goals and changing mindsets are fundamental requirements of endurance sports. In fact, nothing goes to plan in these types of events, and nothing materializes exactly how you wanted it to. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional rider lowering your own effort level or a hobbyist calling to improve your game. Resilience lies in the ability to metamorphose.

“Magnus and I signed up for the trip almost a year before the day of departure, and we were pretty relaxed,” says Phillips. “But the closer we got and the bigger walks we took to get ready, the size started to dawn on us.”

Then Docker decided to join in: “OMG! How are we going to keep up? The first day off the starting line, we rocketed off, and my mindset was, ‘Don’t stretch too much. You have seven days of this!’”

However, magically, the trio merged into a holistic organism. They began to ride as one, and could almost feel each other’s speed and movements. The professional had been freed from his need to perform and the fans felt relaxed. The anxiety of the unknown that characterized his year-long preparation gradually became a painful but familiar routine. They woke up in the morning, battled leg pain for the first part of the ride, rode all day, ate pizza, and did it all over again the next day.

“I was amazed at what my body was showing me it was capable of. All I had to do was let my mind accept it,” says Phillips.

As soon as they established themselves as a cohesive trio, Sverigetempot developed in the best possible way. The temperature of 20 degrees Celsius was hot in northern Sweden, especially for the Swedes. But nobody dared say that driving in those conditions was any worse than in the torrential rain that cursed the event in 2014. At the same time, Sweden’s gorgeous undulating roads made the course fast, even without a headwind and regardless of who was wearing it. time ahead.

When things finally landed in a good place and came into flow, it became natural to enjoy the present and learn the lessons along the way. Even the most surprising ones.

“One of the most exciting things was riding with reindeer,” says Docker. “They were on the side of the road, they ran a lot with us. It was pretty cool.”

Then there were lots of pizzas, because Sweden – if you didn’t know – is also known as the land of pizza.

“I heard it before I went,” says Docker. “So I guess I decided I wanted to do pizza all the time because it was ridiculous. But up north, there’s really just these weird takeaways that say pizza, kebab and pasta. And I just thought, you know, the pizza will be safe, something I can eat. And then once I had one or two, I was like, screw it. I’m just going to make pizzas the whole trip.”

If you’re looking for an introduction to endurance cycling, an event that will still be challenging but can be tackled with more confidence than others, the Sverigetempot is probably what you’re looking for. It is now held every four years because the organizer also wants to participate, and this term is more convenient for him.

The 2020 event was delayed by a year, so the next Sverigetempot will be held in the last week of June/first week of July 2024. There is no immediate rush to register. But you know, it’s a long journey. So you also need a lot of time to train and get used to all the pizzas you’ll eat along the way.

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25 COMMENTS

    • Gravel bikes may be trendy, but lets not dismiss the importance of well-maintained roads. They provide efficient transportation, safety, and accessibility for everyone. Dreams can be made of adventure, but lets not forget the practicality of a solid road network.

    • Swede Dreams? Seriously? Id take the adrenaline rush of GravelBike Adventures any day. Gravel is where its at – rough, challenging, and full of excitement. Leave the smooth roads to the dreamers, Im all about getting down and dirty on the gravel!

    • Gravel bikes are overrated. Nothing beats the thrill of hitting the open road on a sleek road bike. Swede Dreams? More like delusions. Stick to the paved paths, my friend, and leave the gravel for the amateurs.

    • Wow, someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed! Take a chill pill, buddy. Just because you dont agree with the article doesnt make it any less real. Maybe try reading it before jumping to conclusions.

    • Gravel bikes may not be your cup of tea, but for adventure enthusiasts who crave the thrill of exploring off-road terrains, the Swede Dreams are more like an exhilarating escape. So, lets not dismiss others passions just because theyre not our own. Happy riding!

  1. I cant generate a specific opinion without knowing the details of the article. Could you please provide more information or a specific topic from the article that I can comment on?

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