Photos and words by Sami Sauri
“Det Store Eventyret” is not like most events where more or less you know what you are getting into. The participants had no clue in advance of where they will be cycling to, on what kind of surface as well as where they will be spending the night! All they were promised in advance was awesome riding, food by the one and only Velochef Henrik Orre and a bed under a roof to spend the night. The organizers aim to surprise and excite the participants and judging by the mood before the start, it is apparent that everyone is eager to find out what the fuss is about!
The name “Det Store Eventyret” means The Great Adventure and that is how our weekend in Norway started. With the “coming soon” shop of The Service Course and the great and beautiful gravel roads up there we had the perfect excuse to discover what was going on.
The real weekend started late in the afternoon, as we are in a place where the sun eats the day and it stays until 11pm we had all the time in the world to get to our night destination.
A slow rollout from Oslo along the narrow river which runs through Oslo takes us to the outskirts of the city and into the vast forest of Nordmarka. The 300 square kilometer forest, which is more or less uninhabited, is widely used by the Oslo locals for skiing, hiking, and cycling and is closed off for cars. Endless lush pine tree Forests with narrow gravel roads go on for what seems like forever and immediately set the tone for the upcoming days.
With a 100km loop and with a reasonable amount of climbing we venture through steep climbs and fast descents before we reach the upper level of the forest where lakes take up large areas and moose, deer, sheep, and cows roam freely. As we roll in the top of the Solar Observatory, our base for the weekend, we are greeted with the Lavos where Vélochef Henrik Orre and Claes prepare dinner with a great assortment of salads and lentils, some good fuel for a good recovery.
Saturday sunny morning, we woke up in bunk beds or tents and we prepared ourselves for a nice group ride. Everybody is eager to make way and there are lots of friendly hill sprints that we share with salutes and smiles. From lake to lake and hard-packed roads we roll fast despite the last couple of days heavy rain. The network of roads are vast and with the help of local guides, we take the most unlikely, shortcuts through old tractor road to connect the dots. In the middle ride, a beautiful lunch break awaits us with waffles and brown cheese. We continue our loop and we split into a few groups, the one who didn’t want to get rain and the one who is ready for adventure, we end up hiking a bit and going through some proper trails ending our journey back in the Observatory. This time risotto was served and the Italians said it was really good :)
Sunday was a challenge for some of us, after our two days riding the legs start to feel that hills, that long weekend but it was the last day and we didn’t know what this will take us through. The hike & bike game is a jargon to be familiar with and adds to the adventure, and create a string of laughter in the group, splashing thru moody overflow swamps and dams.
In the middle of the woods – a welcoming sight for sore legs and low blood sugar – the Eventyret van – replenish our thirst before we tackle the last bit into the city. Back in town everybody gets their bags and goes back home full of mud and with a smile from side to side.
The event was a success and we are happy to thank all the collaboration of Alex Gidas, working with distribution of Giro in Norway, Henning Carlsen, owner of The Velo Experience event company, Jonas Strømberg and Christian Mayer, of The Service Course and together with Henrik Orre, Velochef.