I first heard about Cabin Fever 2019 whilst reading a post on the Barbonesbikepacking forum. It was described as Sweden’s first Bikepacking Grand Prix. It would not be a race, but instead it would be an adventure, a self supported journey in four loops to the lost cabins of Småland (The small land, part of Southern Sweden).
The further description from the organiser’s website included a definition and more specific details on the event.
“CABIN FEVER THE DEFINITION: A type of hysteria brought on by spending too much time indoors. Directly decended from long haul journeys where you are stuck in cramped conditions for too damn long.
Discover what Småland have to offer in the spring; the trolls of John Bauers’ paintings, long forgotten medieval trails, deep fir forests, rippling streams, fish filled fresh water lakes and forests filled with anemones. A sight for sore eyes.
The adventure consists of four loops starting and ending in Jönköping, where there is a base camp. In total around 600 km of asphalt, gravel, trails, walks and approx 9000 m elevation gain. How many loops you finish is up to you, and your inner demons. We want to ensure equal opportunity for all riders, so all participant will have the same GPS-route that must be followed. Along the loop there are mandatory checkpoints.”
All of which sounded good, now where was it exactly and how would I get there? Well a quick search on a map showed it in the middle of southern Sweden, about 150kms from Gothenburg. After a bit of searching reasonably price flights were found, a cheap bus from Gothenburg to Jonkoping and a place to stay via couch surfing. Work approved the holiday request and so I booked the flights, bus and registered for the event.
I have ridden a few endurance events (races but not officially races) before and I am a reasonably experienced backpacker, so equipment wise I had no worries. However the choice of bike was the most difficult choice. I am lucky enough to have two brilliant Sonder bikes, both of which I have used for endurance events. However they are the total opposite of each other, a Sonder Camino and a Sonder Vir Fortis.
Which bike to take was a difficult decision to make and one that I have revisited many times since to see if I made the correct choice. The Vir Fortis is a very light Fatbike, running 26+ 4.0″ tyres. It’s light weight is due to it being fully carbon and having a very light pair of wheels. It really is a go anywhere bike which I find very comfortable on longer distances due to it’s geometry and Jones Loop bars. It has a great range of gears being 2/10 and is my bike of choice normally for XC/DH and ITT events. The Camino is an Aluminium Adventure Bike, running 650b wheels. However the Camino might be slightly heavier than the Vir Fortis and have a slightly lower range of gears (1/11), but it is slightly faster on tarmac and the nature of the event would include tarmac and gravel roads in spades. After corresponding with Calle, one of the event organisers, I decided upon taking the Camino. Full details on the bike and equipment used can be found here.
To read part two click here.