With 45km asphalt and 55km gravel, cyclists at Norway’s Gran Fondo Strade Statskog had to carefully choose which bike to use – Road, Gravel or MTB for the 22 August race.
Gravel bikes seemed to be the sweet spot – fast on asphalt while offering enough control to stay upright and sail over gravel. It’s what 2004 Olympic MTB Champion and six times MTB World Champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå rode.
Road bike riders had to contended with slippery gravel descents and wooden bridges with longitudinal planks that ate narrow tires.
MTB riders on the other hand painstakingly crawled across long flat asphalt sections where wide tires were of little benefit and then struggled to fit even wider MTB handlebars through two old railway tunnels.
Team Skogn IL Sykkel dominated the race between Steinkjer and Namsosand, claiming the top step of the podium in both the Women’s and Men’s category.
Margunn Andersen Johansen won the women’s race in 3:23:59, while Gisle Holberg rode a blistering fast 2:48:16 to win the Men’s.
Riding like a true Olympic champion, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå rode alongside a group of first time women’s riders, encouraging them throughout the event and finished in 4:44:03.
Complete Gran Fondo Stade Staskog results here.