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Let’s ride! The Nortal bicycle challenge!

Katre Trei, Event Manager at Nortal, November 20, 2020

This year has been a year of challenges at Nortal, sports challenges that is.

Working remotely has challenged our team spirit. But during a pandemic or otherwise, sport is an excellent way to lift morale, connect with colleagues and have some fun.

Additionally, we have discovered that Nortal people are really competitive — in the best possible way.

During this autumn, we organized a 1.5-month-long bicycle challenge where people from 8 countries could participate. Cycling enthusiasts and newbies took part in the challenge and rode hundreds of kilometers to rise to the pedestal.

The top 5 competitors consisted of both men and women from 4 different countries (U.S., Estonia, Finland and Oman). Combined, they covered 7,296.65 kilometers during the challenge.

To give some insight into the challenge, we asked our top 3 cyclists some questions. We hope they inspire you to dig out your bike and take a ride 😉

Michael – gold medallist (4,236.13 km)

How did your biking journey begin?

When I was 12, I had a paper route where I delivered newspapers by bicycle. One day, another one of the carriers, who was older, passed me on his moped. I didn’t like that, and I was able to catch and pass him on my bike. A few weeks later, his father left me a note on my newspaper bundle asking me to contact him about possibly racing my bike. It turned out, his dad was a national-level coach. I never stopped riding after that.

What is your most significant biking achievement?

I have quite a few, but my favorite was breaking 20 minutes for a 16.1 km time trial as a 16-year-old. I wasn’t expecting to even place in my age group, but I beat several professionals and won the overall title.

How did you achieve such good results in the challenge?

I rode at least 100 km a day, EVERY day as usual (I do this even outside of a contest) on the Zwift virtual platform. The rides are indoors but are as real as outdoor rides. All of my rides include power, cadence and heart-rate data. I’ve ridden about 22,000 kilometers so far in 2020, and that’s with taking off the first seven weeks of the year.

Tiiu – silver medallist (825.46 km)

What motivated you to cycle?

This summer, I got myself a new bike, and although it’s nothing fancy, it took my riding experience to a whole new level. But I didn’t get to ride my bike as much as I wanted during the summer, so the bicycle challenge was a good reason to extend the biking season. When at one point, I saw that I had a chance to get to the podium, my motivation levels went way up! On the last day, I even kept riding for 50 km after I fell and the crash bent one of my handlebars and broke the shift lever, so that I couldn’t switch gears anymore … So I guess I get a little crazy and that helps me keep myself motivated.

Where do you like to ride your bike (recommendations for Estonians)?

My favorite places to ride around Tallinn are:

  1. Around lake Ülemiste (counter-clockwise): the whole ~22.5 km circle is really enjoyable.
  2. The so called “Neeme face” (Neeme nägu) on Viimsi peninsula (in the direction of Tammneeme-Leppneeme) — cute, fast and curvy.
  3. The wide bike lane from Hiiu to Paldiski maantee (in the named direction) — a real confidence boost and a chance to stretch your legs while not losing much speed.

Does biking also belong to your regular training routine?

Biking is definitely one of my top sports after not having time to go to the gym anymore. I find it much easier to get my bike out and ride for 1.5 hours than to go for a 30-minute run.

Epp – bronze medallist (821.97 km)

What motivated you to cycle?

What motivated me was maybe the challenge itself. I enjoy such challenges as I like to challenge myself and, of course, I also like to win. I tried to get ahead of the people who were in front of me, but once Michael joined, I realized I would not beat his score, so I tried to keep up with the people racing for runner-up and maintain my position.

Some days, I rode in the morning and evening, and with every weather, even with sleet (I don’t recommend it!). Though I am not a morning person, I even woke up at 6 AM to get training in and enjoy a beautiful sunrise.

Biking, as well as running, are both very enjoyable. You can listen to some nice music and just ride – it helps to reduce stress. You can breathe some fresh air, enjoy nature, and discover new places. I also love the speed!

Where did you mostly take your rides?

I circled around Tallinn on different bicycle routes where I had never been before. It was very interesting.

Does biking also belong to your regular training routine?

I have been riding a bike my whole life, and I have also owned a bike for as long as I can remember. I don’t drive a car, I prefer cycling. During the last year, I have also replaced running mostly with biking. I used to ride around with my city bicycle but realized shortly that a proper bike is needed for long distances. I got one last autumn, and it is much more comfortable.

Juho Valkonen – 4th place (726.17 km)

Peteris Laurins – 5th place (686.92 km)

 

Katre Trei

Katre Trei

Event Manager at Nortal

Katre Trei is Nortal's (Virtual) Events Manager. Katre supports all of Nortal with developing ideas and the full execution of activities. With her bubbly energy and drive to make her colleagues and business partners smile, Katre primarily focuses on executing outstanding company events in Estonia. Currently, most of her attention is on keeping remote employees happy and engaged via virtual activities and events.

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