Viking Tour: a retrospective

Being able to attend and complete the Viking Tour was the fulfilling of a dream that was born with an article on the 4/2007 issue of german Tour magazine. I first enlisted with a friend for the 2008 edition, but recurring inflammatory problems on my right knee prevented my partecipation. My friend, Davide, went then on his own to avoid losing money on the already booked flight. Early in 2009 my knee wasn’t 100% fixed and when I was presented the choice between going to an international congress in Quebec City or the Viking Tour I’ve reluctantly opted for the first option, as congress registration had to be done early and an aggravation of my knee problems later that year would have meant losing both alternatives.  Fortunately, the Viking Tour organizers were very kind and transferred both times my registration to the following year. Well, to tell the truth they also proposed me the option to give me my money back, but I preferred simply to defer as this allowed me to  keep a foot in the door…

What I’ve liked of the Viking tour (almost everything): the touring class and its Musketeer spirit; the fantastic feeding-station girls (always smiling and helpful); the landscapes; the route (except perhaps the fact that first and final stages were essentially the same track in opposite directions, with the climbs in stage 7 that were attacked from their most interesting side and Mt. Gaustatoppen… on top); the wheather (thank Thor!); the organization (scanty, but very efficient); the Viking Tour jersey without advertisements on it; the well-behaved participants (in Valhallas toilets were still quite clean in the morning, I’ve seen practically no cycling-related trash on the roads); the Vik family always cheering us from the side of the road; the Coubertinian spirit of riders pushing their bikes most of the way up to Osafjell and Gaustatoppen; and much, much more…

(Few small) thinghs that can be improved (IMHO, of course): starting numbers (adding the name of the rider on the starting number would make easier to remember who is who among the moltitude of participants); timing in the touring class (sometimes unprecise, sometimes lacking: as this is marginal for people not competing in the racing class I’d have preferred a simple but precise statement on whether or not the timing line in each given stage was crossed); wireless connections in Valhallas (it was not always possible to go online).

What I didn’t liked of the Viking tour (just one thing): the somehow sniffy attitude of some of the top riders in the racing class: e.g., on the way to Osafjell or on the final ascent to Gaustatoppen just few of them, descending, replied to the salute or had a word of encouragement for climbing touring class riders.

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"Non son chi fui, perì di noi gran parte..."
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