A long day on the bike – Vätternrundan 2023

I had the honor of participating in Vätternrundan this past June with some friends from New York.

Billed as “The world’s largest recreational bike event,” this bike ride brings people together from around the world to Motala, Sweden, to ride 315 km (~197 miles) around Lake Vättern. 

It was an incredible experience that was challenging, exciting and some of the most fun I’ve had on a bike. 

How it went down:

  • Woke up at 2:45 am for a 4:04 start time (sun was already up!)
  • First 65 miles flew by. We made it down to Jonkoping in 3:30. Pelotons of 50+ riders formed up. We got passed by teams of 30+ riders absolutely dropping the hammer.
  • Pace dramatically slowed down past the Swedish meatballs in Jonkoping. Averaged 30 km/h at arrival, averaged 26 km/h for the next ~33 miles to the next rest stop.
  • Karlsborg (Mile 127) to Askersund (Mile 159) was the toughest segment for me. I got a bit hot and energy lagged
  • Askursund (Mile ~160) on felt great. I climbed fairly well and put in some pulls. We ended up skipping the last rest stop in Bona and just cruising on home to Motala as we all felt ready to take a break from being on the bikes.

Our total time, including stops, was ~14 hours, and our final total moving time was a shade under 11 hours. Obligatory Strava breakdown is available here

Map of Vätternrundan
The Route. Source: Vätternrundan SE