It was the best of times!
The annual WOW cyclothon is a 1332 km relay race, circling Iceland where one cyclist passes the baton to the next in teams of 6-10 people. Held from June 19-22, the longest days of the year, in rain, mud and lots and lots of sun, the event is becoming quite the summer highlight and for some it’s the highlight of the year.
The WOW cyclothon isn’t just a race and a good time, it’s also a charity event where teams collect pledges and all corporate sponsorship goes directly to charity. This year, the WOW cyclothon sponsored the Save the Children Iceland foundation and raised a total of 4,274,328 ISK. The event is also meant to encourage outdoor activities and subsequently healthy living.
The registration for WOW cyclothon 2014 has already opened and first to sign up were Team Hjólalöggur (Cops on bikes). Team leader Sverrir Guðfinnsson says there was never a question whether Cops on bikes would compete again. “As soon as I got the email offering this year’s teams a discount on the admissions fee with an earlier registration I jumped on it. I knew I had the team behind me and as it turns out we have more than a full team. Some of the team members that competed in the first cyclothon couldn’t make
it this year but want to compete next year and so the team is growing. And then there are colleagues who haven’t competed with us before but want to get on the team. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of two cop teams next year as we want to keep our team in the A class,” says Sverrir and added that he would soon round up his teammates for a burger to go over these matters. “We haven’t formally started training or strategizing for next year but I gave the guys some homework before our first meeting asking them to go over this year’s competition to see what went well and what we can work on. It’s somewhat difficult getting the team together for a meeting as we all work different shifts in different departments. What I can tell you about our goals for next year is that we plan on improvement. The hardest part about this year’s race was definitely the weather, which was very bad in some parts. We plan to be better prepared for all weather conditions next year with better gear and by toughening up, training outside through the winter. We all have racers and even though we are not the most experienced team of cyclists we are very enthusiastic about cycling and slowly but surely our gear is getting better.”
When we asked if Cops on bikes had any secret weapons or strategy up their sleeves, Sverrir denied, “Our only secret weapon is hard training. This takes hard work. The cyclothon is not just a question of how well you can ride a bike; it’s about endurance, to be able to continue despite the lack of sleep and the weather conditions. The experience we’ve gotten after two cyclothons is also very important. We’ve learned to be tactical. We know better what gear to take, what food works well and how to train for this trial. We learned a lot last year and we learned even more this year,” concludes Sverrir.
Photo: Ernir Eyjólfsson