Gravel riding is all the rage these days, and as no surprise to anyone I’ve also caught the bug and bought myself a sweet adventure bike that really needed to go on another adventure. Enter The Great Adventure a.k.a. Det Store Eventyret. Eventyret is a three day gravel cycling festival that debuted last year. Routes and exact lengths are secret until right at the last minute and you can bet that easy is not an option. Sustenance for all those kilometres and elevation are prepared by no other than the Vélochef and chef for Team Sky Henrik Orre. The Bombtrack and I were ready for whatever the organisers wanted to throw our way.
The event kicked off in Torshov right by Akerselva. For the first stage, we had two choices: a medium route of 60-80 km and a hard route of 80-100 km. Go big or go home has always been my sports motto, so I opted for the hard route, which revealed itself as a 102 km celebration of climbing and it took our group until 10 pm to arrive, but it was amazing. We all wolfed down an amazing dinner of pulled pork, sweet potato chips and a selection of salads and called it a night.
The next day we all started together, but were presented with options to cut the 140 km loop short. The first “extra loop” began after km 14 and included a climb with an average slope of 18% (!), with the steepest part boasting a whopping 25.1%. All on gravel, which you can only climb seated as your rear wheel will spin out underneath you without your body weight on it. The mood in the group was optimistic about tackling the full 140 km. After 80 km Henrik cooked up pølse (sausages, a staple Norwegian snack food) for lunch with waffles for dessert and it began to rain. We tackled the next extra loop that brought on some grade A technical rock garden downhill sections. This earns a shoutout to my wheels of choice, a pair of WTB Riddler 37 that ate all the rocks for breakfast like a bowl of oatmeal. Unfortunately, by the time we finished the loop we had all been soaked to our bones and took a group decision to skip the final extra loop of 30 km and instead just head back to camp for beers. We still ended up with 110 km and 2045 m elevation on the clock.
On the third day it was time to return to our normal lives in Oslo. We were given a late start with a route of only 70 km and 1050 m elevation, so we all thought it would be an easy, casual ride back. As soon as we left I noticed that my left knee was really, really unhappy and every pedal revolution was painful. But the gravel was relatively smooth, so I was ok with getting dropped from the lead group. After 50 km I reached our feed stop. Nice, only 20 km left. Except for 10 of those 20 km turned out to be either very technical single track or just a swamp from all the rain over the weekend. The route ended with the gravel climb up to Grefsenkollen, where we could briefly enjoy the view of dark clouds before heading back down to Torshov to pick up our luggage.
This event was grade A fantastic and I loved absolutely everything about it, even with all the rain. No doubt I will be back next year, and so should you!