Pain, suffering and high speed on a bike.
Ritter Classic is a Gran Fondo type race. This year the course was 118 km, with the first 92 km with a pace car in front keeping to a time-schedule corresponding to a 30 km/h average. Then there was a short break and the race was given free the last 26 km.
There was over 1000 riders at the start-line in Taastrup. I was in 600th-something position at the start with number 772, everybody started in fenced in areas of 200 start numbers, 1–200, 201–400 etc., and the fences was removed just before the start. It took 90 seconds before I could start riding after the start gun was fired.
It was clear to me that it was all about getting up to the first 200 or so places in the peloton, because all changes in speed is amplified the further down the road you get. Think of speed changes as propagating down the road and getting amplified all the way. Sitting in the last position is much harder than 100th.
I was not the only one to think like that, and there was a constant jockeying for position and staying out of trouble. Pretty hard. I ended up taking the bikepath after 15 km, racing along the main road for about 2 km and ended up in about 200th position. Much better, but still a quite nervous place, and it was quite tricky to get back on the road safely.
There was a few crashes, but I stayed out of trouble, although I had one close call where the guy in front of me braked harder than me, and I hit him with my right brake lever, but we stayed upright. After Nivå we got to some much smaller roads, and there was quite a few crashes as some people was getting tired at that point, and one poor guy looked like he broke his collar-bone.
After the depot outside Fredensborg we were again on big roads and it was quite uneventful until km 92.
Then it was just a mad “dash” to the finishline over the hilliest part of the course, and I averaged nearly 36 km/h for that part, which is quite good for me, especially as I kind of ran out of steam at km 107 and had to just let people pass and keep to my own pace. That meant I rode the last 7 km alone. Damn hard.
My final result was quite satisfying, especially as I'm on a roughly 1 kg/week weight loss program and not at 100% of what I could've been.
The organization of the race was excellent, the roads was closed all the way which is great for safety with that many riders on the road at once.
I'll definitely try to ride agin next year, which will be the 10th Ritter Classic.