Training for the Rovaniemi 150 MTB race
Simon Bryant is our Chester store's assistant manager, and besides his travelling and mountaineering expertise, his main passion is cycling, be it road racing, mountain biking or touring. Above all, he is a great believer in the singlespeed mountain bike. Next year, Simon is planning to ride the Rovaniemi 150, an Arctic race like no other. Here's what he has to say on the challenge...
"The Rovaniemi 150 is a self-supported, winter Arctic race in Finland. You can enter the race by foot, ski or by bike but not with dogs! I'm choosing the bike option and during this winter, I have slowly been building up a "fat bike" - a mountain bike specially designed to handle these conditions. To cope with the snow, it has 4 inch wide tyres, cable-operated disc brakes as low temperatures can split the rubber seals on hydraulic brakes, and special grease that won't freeze.
"The race covers a distance of 150km and racers are not allowed to receive outside help. This means that everyone has to be self-sufficient and carry enough food, clothing and camping equipment for the duration. Some racers will carry the minimal amount of kit and race all the way through the night if conditions allow, but most will be out racing for up to 40 hours. There is no accommodation along the race route, so racers will have to camp out in the Arctic winter, and temperatures during the winter in Finland can go as low as -30C!
"150km does not seem far and to most road cyclists it is something that we can do on our regular Sunday outing. However, factor in things that are outside of your control such as eye-wateringly low temperatures, blizzards and wind, and the race soon starts shaping itself into an endurance ride of major proportions. As it's my first race of this kind, I'm just aiming to finish the course with all my toes and fingers intact!"
Simon will be posting regularly about his training and bike adventures as he builds up to Rovaniemi 150 next February.
- 2012 Winning time: 34 hours and only 3 of 13 competitors finished
- 2013 Winning time: 18 and only 24 of 37 finished
- 2013 Winning time: 15 hours and only 44 of 57 finished
- Race cut-off time: 42 hours
- All competitors that complete the race recieve a sandwich and two chocolate balls.