My name is Jonny Olsen and I live in Alta, a small town in the North of Norway, only 200 km from North Cape. Cycling is my life, after my family, of course, and I ride my bike as often as possible. A bike adorned for me only: a 16 years-old Italian real handmade by Daccordi. I gave her new life few years ago when I bought her from an elderly man. We have had many nice moments on the road since then, and especially I would like to tell you about the Onroadfinnmark 444km.
In 2014 I decided to partecipate to this incredible race of 444 km, so I knew I would need of a full year of specific training for this race. The whole Winter was spent indoor with my Daccordi on a Tacx roller, becuase of the cold climate in the area where I live. Then I began to get out in April: just the time to taste the road, and the Great Day arrived.
The 6th April 2015 at 7:00 am I started out with my companions of the “Team Steel and Rubber”, 12 men of good cheer. Forecast was bad, but it didn’t prevent us to achieve our goal we have been arranging for a full year. The first 70 km we felt like we were flying, full of adrenaline even though first pit stops was still far.
We had planned 5 little stops of 5 minutes to replace the bottles and replenishing food. All was going well until we turned to the Northeast: when a strong wind begun to blow up and we had to face it until Kara Shock, which is 200km after the start. Here we lost the first man who gave up.
After Kara Shock we faced the highest mountain of our trip, climbing for 12 km, when we met opposite wind and rain. Temperatures dropped to 3°C. Mood and willpower were falling, and descending to Lakselv was extremely cold and wet. A quick hot meal and dry clothes were waiting for us in this little village. We had been riding for 270 km.
We started out from Lakselv with a strong wind, but the rain stops. In these moments, thoughts rush through your head. After 300 km, there is no a part of your body that doesn’t give pain. I stuggled against negative thoughts to gain my goal. My body and legs were going on in a sort of autopilot way. Another team member gave up.
In front of us, the ascent No. 3, not long but insurmountable in these conditions. In Skaidi was the last stop, “only” 70 km to Alta and our goal. All what I wanted was to put me in the car and give up. My body feels completely broken out. Still, there were the 4th (and last) climb and the wind has turned against us again, rain was still falling down. We were riding slowly and I felt apathetic exhaustion, then a puncture of a team member stopped us, and we had to wait for the car for a new wheel.
The lastest 20 km were descending, and it was absolutely cold and I freezed my hands that I had troubles in gearing and braking.
At 10 km to the finish, we pass beside my home in Alta Fjord to know I strongly wanted to go at home and left the competition, but giving up so close to my achievment would be tragic. Finally after 19timer and 58 minutes we roll across the finish line. My fantastic old Daccordi didn’t betray me, and the joy for being able to ride for 444 km was enormous. Suddenly all the pain and exhaustion have gone. Everything was perfect.