Den Store Syrkeproven
Den Store Syrkeproven is a non stop cycle race that goes from Trondheim to Oslo in Norway, and at 540 kilometres (330 miles) long it fits its name well enough, which translates 'The Great Trial of Strength'. The race is held in mid-June each year, on the weekend closest to the longest day of the year, and so far north in Norway, it gets dark only for an hour or so. The course follows a river valley heading south out of Trondheim and then gradually climbs, over some eighty kilometres, onto the Dovrefjell, a 3000 ft mountain plateau (where it has been known to snow even in June). Then it descends sharply before travelling fairly flat to Lillehammer, at around 350 kilometres. From there the organisers find plenty of hills to take you up as you approach Oslo. There is good support by the race organisers, with checkpoints and food stations every 50 kilometres or so, including thousands and thousands of kilos of bananas.
In 2016 Den Store Strykeproven celebrated its 50th anniversary and James Henderson of A Life of Adventure went along in a party of five cyclists to write an article for the Financial Times' magazine How to Spend it. Read Norway's Most Challenging Cycle Race. But he first competed in the race in 1994, when he wrote about the race for the European newspaper, see below. Beneath that see a gallery of images of the race. All images credited to - Styrkeproven / Stian Solum Lysberg. The official race website can be found at Styrkeproven.no.