9th at the European Championship

Chies d’ Alpago: Yesterday I participated in my fourth consecutive UEC European Championship. Every year I’ve managed to better my position with one place. But, the last four years, I personally feel my riding has progressed more than one position a year. So it was a great relief to get that confirmation yesterday, and thus getting my first international top 10 result.

Warming up before the race:
warming_up_uec_alpago_european_championship

The impossible was possible
I ended up on 9th place, with only stronger riders ahead of me. I was 15 points from a top 6 position, that would’ve secured me a spot among the top six and a ticket to the final. Ahead of the race I perceived many of the obstacles and sections as impossible for me. Some of the sections were quite scary, and objectively dangerous. So I did a few tactical decisions and I’m really happy with that. Not the way I would like to see trials riding evolve, but the best I could do with the situation yesterday.

Tough first lap
The first lap I got five penalties at every section. Of course I was not happy with that, but lots of the mistakes were after I had cleared the hardest obstacles in the section. Thus I knew I was able to get through most of the sections the next two laps. This was also my third race this season, and first international race, so maybe I needed one lap to get into the zone.

Better and better
The second lap I rode even better than the first, but unfortunately I had a few mistakes I should’ve been without. I bettered my score with four points, ending up with 21 penalites. At the third lap I started to get into the race properly, and rode really well. I got through the three easiest sections with respectively 2, 2 and 4 points. Also, on of the hardest sections, where I just marked five penalties on the two first laps, and had a go as the last section of the day.

No risk no fun
The section consisted of logs in a horse shoe formation, first going uphill, then flat, and then rolling down on the logs. Everything quite high above the ground with lots of risk (unnecessarily imo). I thought I had nothing to loose riding it in the end of the race. And I was right. I did everything in the section, but had to put a foot down twice to re-establish balance. Better than falling down and die I think! Also, I got one time penalty, ending up with three points in a section I thought was impossible and also a bit dangerous.

The results:
results_uec_euro_champs_trials

Best support ever
I want to thank the Norwegian Federation and especially Eddy for a great support in this championship. We’ve been staying at an small hotel (Dolada) with one star in the Michelin guide. So the food here is beyond great! Also, I have never had any better bike before. I been focused making it as light as possible, and weighted it at 8,1 kg before the race. So big thanks to GT Bicycles, TNN Bikes and Vee Tire Co. for sorting me out with the best parts.

The essentials:
gt_bicycles_tnn_vee_tire

100% at every show

I’ve come to a new conclusion: riding a show is physical more demanding than riding a race. Let me explain: when I do I race, my main focus is to ride as calm and economical as possible. Each section (UCI style) consists of several man-made obstacles, often with a flat surface between them. You can have a break between every obstacle, track standing for as long as you can afford within the time limit. I very often don’t reach maximum heart rate during a race at all. Average heart rate is somewhere around 150 bpm.

During a show, it’s all about having the best flow and impressing the spectators as much as possible. You can’t track stand for 20 second between each move, that would be straight up boring to watch. Also, in a show, you try to progress all the time. Every move and line is a little bit harder than the previous. That also means more and more physically demanding. Almost at every show I do, I reach my maximum heart rate. And the average heart rate is much higher than a race.

Here’s the summary found at my Movescount profile from one of the shows I did at Saturday. 180 bpm in average, and 194 bpm in maximum. That’s the highest heart beat I have recorded so far.

movescount_suunto_heartrate_trials_show

The beautiful city of Molde

Yesterday me and Erik drove up to Molde, located at the middle west of Norway. Surrounded by big mountains and fjords, this place is truly beautiful.

Molde did also offer a lot of great street riding, and after 3 x 15+ mins of shows during 7 hours, we had one of the better rides in a long time. I even managed to do some personal best jumps, and that’s with a saddle on the bike!

We’re doing a mini tour, so tomorrow we probably go north to Kristiansund and try out the riding there. We end our trip in Aalesund on Monday or Tuesday. I really want to try some of the spots there, as I’ve seen them so many times in Thomas’ (TRA) videos.

The shows went really well, and the event was a success. The local bike club organized a day dedicated to bikes, with all kinds of activities. The highlight was probably free ice cream and soda!

A scenic ride with the Peugeot over the mountain at Friday. Still LOTS of snow:

peugeot_turtagro

Today’s setup. Really fun to ride, even used the rail on the terrace:
show_sykkelshow_peugeot_molde

Introducing the no front wheel thing. Haven’t done this in yeeeears:
eirik_ulltang_show_molde

Dropping the trailer (both action shots are screenshots from video captured with the Samsung Note 4. Edit dropping one day soon):
eirik_ulltang_show_sykkelshow_molde

Nice wee ride in Molde city:
gt_bicycles_trial_molde

Norwegian champion, again!

Finally back to normal, finally Norwegian Champion, again! The last weeks’ been so hectic organizing the Norwegian Championship and Norwegian Cup. Being the race manager, I had a lot of responsibility and work to do. On top of this, my main goal was to win both the races, especially the championship.

Below you’ll find my race reports from both of the races.

The Norwegian Championship
With a soar throat and busy schedule ahead of the race, I was quite unsure about my physical level. I hadn’t been riding much the last week, couldn’t find time to prepare the bike properly and was a bit ill. I didn’t expect much before I started to warm up pre-race, even though I had one clear goal.

It was during the warm up I realized my physical form was great. It’s often like this, when I have several days without training, and feel totally shit, but in reality is approaching peak performance.  This was one of those days.

I cleaned the first lap, while second place had 16 points. Second lap I failed on one big jump, and had to drop a foot. The rest was clean. Third lap had no particular problems, and I finished the race on one point. Second place on 24 (Knut Fosse), third place 47 (Joachim Skjævestad). Really happy with my riding, I was in the right mode and I could handle the sections.

Two times Norwegian Champion already, only eight to go!

The Norwegian Cup
The day after the NCh, we had the first out of five Norwegian Cups at the same venue. Me and Knut made the sections, and we did them a bit shorter and a bit bigger than the NCh sections. The suited me really well, except the last section (section 1), which had some pretty big moves in it. First lap I cleaned everything but section 1.

In the second lap my rear wheel lost the grip on a log (where the chicken wire was teared off) in section 4, and I dropped one foot. Kind of stupid mistake, as I realized I was landing in the slippy place before I jumped. Then my “bad luck” continued in section 3, where I barely was touching an arrow which wasn’t attached to a rock properly, and it fell off. Five points. Then I managed to get through section 5, but with three points, which resulted in nine points on the second lap.

When I started the third lap, I noticed Knut Fosse was riding really well, but he was still two points behind me after two laps. I then knew I needed to ride on two or less points in the third lap to secure the win. I hoped Knut wouldn’t ride on a clean, something he clearly was fired to do. I managed to clean every single obstacle in the third lap. But, in section 5 I had to work hard to get over the last obstacle, and got two penalties for time. I ended up with 16 points.

Knut, on the other hand, did his lap of his life, with full determination and great riding. He managed to clean everything, and scored the same as me, 16 points. But, he had more fives, and thus more zeros. With 11 clean sections, and me with 10 clean sections, he won! He really deserved the win, as he’s been one of the best riders in Norway the last decade, but never won a single race. Though he has been riding less than me the last couple of years, his natural talent exceeds my physical potential. His vertical leap is totally immense, and something I truly would love to have myslelf.

There are still four races in the cup, and I haven’t lost the overall title with a second place in the opening race. My motivation just got stronger, and I know no one in this country can beat me when I ride like I did in the NCh. My first race with zero penalty points is yet to come, but I have never been closer.

After all, I’m super happy with the weekend. We had some good weather, and some bad weather. There were lots of spectators, especially at the NCh. I won the most important race of the year (for me). Only negative thing was the lack of riders showing up. I’m really disappointed about that, as I think all the riders should show up if they want events like this in the future! I’m not going to organize another event next year if people don’t attend.

Riding the sketchy beam (Photo: Eirik Sæle):
eirik_ulltang_norwegian_trials_championship_champion_norheimsund_balance

Gapping (All photos below: Bjørn Magne Kristiansen):
eirik_ulltang_norwegian_trials_championship_champion_norheimsund_gap

Last obstacle in a section:
eirik_ulltang_eikedalen_norwegian_trials_championship_champion_norheimsund

Podium with Knut (left) and Joachim (right). Harald filming in the background:
eirik_ulltang_norwegian_trials_champion_2015

Riding in the rain, watch my Move

Suunto just released their Movescount app for Android. As I’m the proud user of a Samsung phone, I haven’t been able to show you alle the cool features available in my Ambit3 Peak watch before now. Finally I can add photos to my moves, making it a whole lot more interesting to view.

This feature is opening a whole new level to the trials experience. Imagine making a move from a race, where you take a photo at every section. Such a creative way to share the experience.

Today it was raining. I always try to avoid riding in the rain, because I forget how fun and challenging it is after each time. Now I got a new reminder, it’s really nice actually. Dragged Erik along, and we did a intense natural ride just outside Oslo.

Erik posing the best he can:
erik_solbakken_ljan_biketrial_move_movescount

Slippery rocks and roots, no problem for my Vee Tires:
gt_bicycles_move_movescount_suunto