Friday, July 15, 2011

Meråker Extreme Race

Dad crosses the bog lands on the way up Blåberge to meet Chris

On Friday night we drove with an extremely heavily loaded car to Meråker and then on to Teveltunnet for the much anticipated Meråker Extreme Challenge. Chris was to compete against race organiser and competitor Hallgeir Martin Lundamo, who held the race record of 39 hours to complete the crazy 170 km long run, which includes climbing all 26 peaks in the Meråker commune - a total of 11, 000m climb!
80 competitors were also due to start the shorter challenge, which took them as far as Teveltunnet, about 70km from the start, over 9 of the 26 tops. The organisers had sorted us out a neat wee cabin to stay in at Teveltunnet at a place called Fjell Vukku. Unfortunately we had a really rough night and we were all worried about how Chris would go in the morning.

A little Rock Ptarmigan at Teveltunnet, Dad and I were followed by a pair of these on our walk - this one has it's 'winter plumage' on.
He got to begin the race in style - flown to the start in a helicopter! Dad and I organised ourselves to go up Blåberge, the fifth peak, so Chris would get there at about 1 pm after starting at 8am and we would restock him with food and drink.

We had an interesting walk across boglands and then up a very rock spur onto the windy summit. We had on our great Offtrack (Chris's sponsor) suits which were super wind proof, so we felt pretty cool as we sat near the summit behind a boulder to shelter from the wind eating mackerel sandwiches waiting for Chris to arrive.

Dad and I wandered across this curiously scalloped snow

The next thing I heard a distant "ho ho" on the summit and quickly decided no Norwegian would say that, so we ran up to the top and found Chris there. He had a quick transition and then was off again with Bård's brother Ola Christian. It was nice to see he had someone to run with. They had about a 25 minute lead over Hallgeir Martin at this stage.

Chris and Ola Christian head off from the summit of Blåberge

As I returned to the rock with my mackerel sandwich on it I spotted a lemming scampering away, so Dad got a lemming siting - then I wondered if perhaps it had been nibbling on my sandwich?

Lemmings or no lemmings, Dad and I didn't have much time to lose - we headed back down to the car and drove through to Teveltunnet. It was only just in time - Chris had taken his predicted 4 hours from Blåberge and he reached Teveltunnet in around 9 hours 30. He was finding it a bit tougher in the warm weather and having a few problems with his eating, but generally was all good.

Team Offtrack assists Chris during his transition at Teveltunnet

After a short stop he was off again, with club mates Jostein and Mads following this time. Dad and I mucked around at our cabin eating up some of Chris's race left overs before bed.

Early the following morning I had a call from amazing Chris - it was 7.30 and he only had three hours left and he would reach the final peak! I raced out of bed, ate a quick breakfast and Dad dropped me at the bottom of Fonnfjellet - the final peak. I ran up as fast as I could and got to the top by 10.30, I was the only one there!

So I became official time keeper, photographer, communications officer and most importantly welcoming committee! It was great seeing Chris and Tomas pop over the top and realise the race finish, we were all very happy. Then Chris remembered he still had to go down to Meråker on his own two feet, he wasn't quite so happy about that.

Chris upon reaching the final summit Fonnfjellet - the official finish line

Nevertheless we all trotted down quite merrily, and after a short 'photo session' at the bottom we were driven back to a warm welcome at Teveltunnet. Everyone was amazed at Chris's new record - 26hours 48 minutes - over 11 hours faster than the previous record, and he got a lot of interviews and photographs, it was quite exciting!

Chris and Tomas making there way down towards Meråker
Heading down on some snow

Mum and Dad arrived and we had a fun afternoon hanging out by the lake and eating strawberries. Chris had a very good long sleep that night.

At Fjell Vukku there was a beautiful lake, it was also quite warm for swimming!

The next day was taken up with packing up, eating food and generally mucking around. Chris also met the major of Meråker and popped a bottle of champagne. My phone was buzzing with messages all day from friends who spotted Chris is in various Norwegian papers!
Hallgeir Martin, Chris, Mum and Dad discuss the race
The mayor of Meråker, Chris and Hallgeir Martin

Chris shakes hands with the race organiser

Mum and I trying to deal with a rather full car!

Late on Monday afternoon we finally left Meråker and drove Northwards. Quite late on Monday night we found a nice roadside cabin to overnight in, not far from Grong. Our original plan was to drive up to the Islands of Vega, where there is a large archipelago perfect for sea kayaking.
The gray fjords on the way to Vega
Ferry antics
Our very nice camp spot on Vega - the rain cleared for about 1 hour in the evening
The fishing village at Nes, nearby to the Eider duck colony where they harvest original Eiderdown from.
Maybe some Eiderdowns?
Atmospheric stony beaches with strange constructions at Vega

A wondrous sculpture, very wind proof
We got into some blueberries

Unfortunately the weather thwarted this plan with lots of rain and wind, so instead we enjoyed the trip to the Island and went for some nice exploratory walks - including visiting the hole in the mountain at Brønnysund.
The hole. This cavern is about 150 meters high and 100 metres across, it really is quite spectacular to walk through - you can see little islands of the archipelago down below.
Mum and I heading through the hole
On the drive back to Trondheim we came across a very spectacular waterfall! I guess all that rain had helped.
Mum, Dad and I enjoy a nice picnic spot on the way back to Trondheim

We arrived back to brilliant sunshine in Trondheim - typical! So we enjoyed our last day here with Mum and Dad swimming in the lake and starting to think already about our next trip! Mum has headed back to NZ now, Dad is working in Sweden for two weeks more before also going back home.

We are departing today for Iceland where we are spending two weeks cycle touring, hopefully bathing in hot pools and spotting geysers too! After that we fly to Switzerland, still with our bikes, and will make our way towards Aix Les Bains in France where the world orienteering champs will be held this year. So, the adventures continue and hopefully I will get some opportunity to update the blog during all that silliness (-:

South with Mum and Dad

Mum and Dad arrived in Trondheim on June 25th, and Chris and I picked them up from the airport after Chris had completed his last training run for the Meråker Extreme Challenge. He had set out from Bjørneggen at 6.30 am and run for 8 hours over the Southern part of the course including Fongen. I met him at a wee cabin in the mist most of the way through the run and we finished the last three peaks together.
Running up Vålåkleppen in the amongst the clouds

It was great to see Mum and Dad and we drove excitedly home to our place in Trondheim. We spent the first few days mucking around here, visiting the town and exploring in the forest as well as some swimming of course! Then Mum, Dad and I headed away on a trip through Jotunheimen, Geiranger and finishing with a tramping trip near Åndalsnes. We had a great trip despite the mixed weather. I have put a lot of photos up on my picassa album and there are captions which tell a little story of our adventure. I had so many pictures I decided this was a nicer way of telling this trip.

Anyway, enough puff, this should be a captioned slideshow:

If you click on the slideshow I think it will also link through to the album.

After we came back from this trip we were very busy organsing to head up to Meråker for the Extreme Race, so we didn't have long to wash and dry our gear before we piled in the car and headed on to Meråker for the next adventure.