Sunday, October 25, 2009

Raid Uppsala!

After being asked by Swedish multisporter Martin Flinta to come and race the Swedish Adventure Race Champs (combined this year with the Raid Uppsala) Chris decided that sounded like fun and I decided to tag along too. Fortunately through Aaron I managed to find myself a teammate to race the shorter women's class.

So on Thursday we started to get organised with the plan of heading away mid afternoon. By 7 pm when it was dark, cold and raining we were finally ready - we decided to postpone our departure until Friday morning.

The drive to Uppsala is pretty long - especially driving on the slow and windy Norwegian roads. We drove over a snowy pass, then down down down until we were on the flatter faster Swedish roads. We stopped to look at a crater formed by an asteroid thousands of years ago.

'The Crater' (Snowy hole in Swedish forest = highly unusual)

Strange bear thing we passed by

Finally we reached Uppsala, and Martin's girlfriend's brother's house where we were able to stay! It was rainy and a bit cold, so Chris decided he better head out for a last minute roller blade practice (-:

We reveled in the cheap and delicious Swedish supermarkets.

In the morning it was still raining and cold, but luckily we had both brought loads of warm gear with us. We drove down to the kayak transition to drop off Chris's boat, and I met my very friendly teammate Josefine. Then it was up to the main race transition area to madly try and get everything sorted in time.
Pre race organisation - or lack of...we forgot all our compasses - opps!

For the short course we started with a short canoeing section, which was fun, but a crazy mad scramble to get down to the river. After the canoe was the orienteering section. Josefine was super speedy, but had left me entirely in charge of the navigation.... the forest seemed like typical Swedish terrain, flat, no features, marshy, the odd boulder....ghghegehghe!

Chris heading out on his paddle.... meanwhile I am lost somewhere in the forest (no photos, please!)
Chris out on the chilly river that runs through Uppsala

I really struggle in that type of terrain, especially under pressure and so we made some big mistakes. After over an hour we made it round the course and switched to the mountain bike orienteering section. This was pretty straightforward, but extremely muddy slippery riding.

Then it was on to the 'bike run' section, where one person bikes and the other runs, and you can swap round if you want. I still didn't have the navigation under control really, but it was much easier fortunately. Finally we had a short orienteering course to finish the race - we headed up the hill and I decided to try really hard to make no mistakes.

The chaotic transition area
At the first control we caught another girl's team, and the race was on. "How can I beat them?" I thought, I felt sure I would make a big mistake, they had 'Uppsala Orienteers' written on their jackets. We stuck with them for a while, then I realised the easy map was making way more sense than earlier and we made our break.

To my amazement we managed to orienteer the last 4 controls perfectly and just hold off the other girls. So, even if we kind of sucked I was happy - and it was really fun racing with Josefine.

Rollerblading in the rain!
In the meantime Chris and Martin were still thrashing around their course. They had started with a 20km roller blade. Martin is an expert rollerblader and Chris, well..need I say more! Apparently he started off tottering along on slippery leaves and Martin probably thought "Oh no, who have I teamed up with?" Then Martin stuck Chris on a tow rope and they belted off, over taking a lot of teams in the process - much to the amazement of some teams who told Chris afterward they were very impressed to be passed by someone who looked so unco (-: (I'm sure he didn't look that unco).

Chris comes into a transition

After the roller blade they had a long paddle and this is where they actually lost most of their time on the winning teams - unfortunately Chris's lack of paddling in Trondheim showed up. After that they charged through an orienteering section, mountain biking, the same bike run thing and then the same little orienteering course. They finished in 6th I think, both saying they weren't so excited about their placing, but that they had really enjoyed the race. Both were completely brown with mud!

We had a nice little catch up with Aaron, Sara, Karin and Greta before the prize giving, then we headed back to our place in Uppsala for some delicious warm showers and dinner at a yummy Thai restaurant.

It was a long drive home on Sunday - especially given we both had rather sore muscles! But it had been a very fun weekend. I have to say thanks to the race website, I hope they don't mind me using some of their photos - it's hard to take some when you are competing (-:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Late Autumn

Because my last post had so many snowy pictures, I really feel like I missed showing you how pretty the autumn has been! We have moved into winter so fast it has taken me by surprise.
Today was a beautiful crisp sunny day so I wandered down to our lake and took some pictures of the autumn colours before they all drop off into the lake!

In some places the edges of the lake are already beginning to freeze.

What a pretty spot to live beside, especially when the sun is out! But enough of this pretty photography - we are about to head away on a mission to Uppsala for the Swedish Multisport Champs!

Monday, October 12, 2009


After several weeks of cold rainy weather and the odd patch of snow and ice, the autumn holidays are finally upon us. Twiddling our thumbs on Friday night we eventually decided a pleasant walk in the hills was on the menu. So we called on our regular partners in crime - Helen and Ally. Unfortunately Helen was away, but with very little arm twisting (just a hint of the word whiskey) and we had persuaded Ally of the virtues of our plan.

By 3 pm we were tootling down the motorway towards Størjdal, then through Selbu and into the bomveg to Vekta. We had very sensibly decided skis would be silly.... this was an autumn trip! However, the white landscape before us suggested otherwise. Snowmobile tracks compacted the snow for the first 50 metres, then it was plodding though knee deep snow with the occasional treacherous swamp hole to watch out for.

The valley had become a winter wonderland already, the lake was frozen and everywhere was white. We trudged along as the sun sank lower on the horizon. Eventually we could see the hut, but we knew in spite of that there was a good hours walk to go - we were averaging about 1.5km per hour!

Finally we struggled in the dark up the steps of the hut - that definitely wasn't the autumnal stroll we had been anticipating! Prestøyhytta is a very cosy little number, with solar lighting, an effective drying room, a radio, a warm fire and even comfy couches! We cooked up a feast and enjoyed some whiskey and chocolate cake whilst Emily made a bad attempt at playing the guitar and Chris demonstrated the kayak roll.

Strange happenings....


A leisurely start in the morning, we had no desire to climb the 'peak' we had been planning to go up, just slogging back out took enough motivation. I dug a nice path way through the snow to the creek and we all agreed that we will have to make a return trip to the hut - next time with some skis!

Following our tracks made the outward journey much faster and it wasn't long before we were heading back to Trondheim after a very enjoyable weekend in the hills. Oh, and I have to credit Ally with almost all the pictures for this blog, they are very pretty - even if he did have to take a trinososauris with him (-: