The Virtual Vatternrundan

The Vatternrundan is a bike ride that starts and finished in Motala in Sweden.   The first Vatternrundan was in 1966 when the event started as a loop that followed the lake counter clockwise though the direction was reversed in 1974 when right handed driving was introduced in Sweden, and you will see on the course many veterans who have completed this ride for decades!

I have completed this ride twice before and I think it is my favourite cycling event to date.  I love the roads, the people, the atmosphere, that you ride through the night and catch the sunset and sunrise and the scenery as you complete the route around the Lake Vattern.

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I first completed the ride in 2017 with some friends and you can read more about that here.  I then went back last year in 2019 and completed the ride with my husband as well as completing the Tjejvattern 100km and Halvattern 150km and I wrote a blog post on what the bike week is that you can read here.

This year the course changed and instead of being a 300km loop it had increased slightly to 315km and I was looking forward to seeing the changes and completing this for the third time with hopes of bagging myself a PB.

Unfortunately the event had to be cancelled, as is the case for most, due to COVID-19.  As disappointing as this was I was expecting the announcement and it is the right decision with the safety of staff and participants in mind.

As I mentioned above the cancellation of events has been widespread regardless of sporting discipline and one interesting outcome is how brands/companies have handled this.  I have seen some that have given no offer of deferring or refunds and others that have offered both.  Although I was gifted my place to the Vatternrundan I was pleased when I was offered the chance to defer to 2021 (hell yes I will be there next year) and also the opportunity to complete the mileage virtually and be sent my medal.

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When we take part in the event the mileage is in one go but for the virtual event or as they have called it Minvatternrundan (which means My Vatternrundan) you are given the option to complete either out on the road or on the turbo and either in one go or across multiple rides within the time period from 5 to 13 June.

Typical British weather meant that in the run up to this we had glorious sunshine and then for the start weekend it was wind and rain and so it continued.  This meant we have had a mix of outdoor rides and turbo sessions to complete the mileage (the actual breakdown was 85km outside and 237.74km inside, which was not the plan – the plan was outside riding but nevermind).  The main downside overall to completing the challenge from the UK was the lack of blueberry soup – if you know you know!

For the turbo I changed my avatar to be wearing my Vatternrundan kit (obviously) that I earned during some of the training rides that were hosted on Zwift in the run up to when the event was scheduled for.  This was open to all but there were many people talking on the rides who were signed up and the structure built on distance as the weeks went by to assist with training.

It was also a great way to keep up with training and stay motivated as events are cancelled, seeing others on social media who were also completing the challenge at the same time and I look forward to receiving my medal in the post and planning my trip for 2021!

If you are interested in taking part in the ride next year I cannot recommend it enough.  The registration process is different to most and you need to complete a series of steps as follows:

  • step 1 – head to the Vatternrundan website and create a profile
  • step 2 – register interest for the event next year (this is not yet open but is usually online before the end of June)
  • step 3 – you will then receive an email with instructions on dates for registration
  • step 4 – if you are successful you will then receive details on how to complete the process and make payment – get in quick to avoid disappointment (this is usually around October time)

You need to complete the above in sequence to sign up ie if you don’t register interest you can’t then sign up at a later date so don’t miss out!  If you do sign up I also wrote a blog post about training for an endurance event like this that you can read here.

Hopefully I will see you there next year and will share my medal on my socials when I receive it!

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