Norwegian Experience

The last two weeks were awesome! With photos I will show you the trip to Norway, including 2 races, sightseeiing, meeting the best people and also having soooo much fun! :) 

The journey started at home, in Solothurn. I left the hot summer behind to leave to Norway :) 

First stop: Oslo, there I met teammate Anderl Hartmann. Together we traveled by train to Lillehammer. We participated in the famous and maybe biggest race in Europe: Birkebeiner. Over 14.000 participants this year. The race is fast, mostly on gravel roads, and because of a tradition every rider has to carry a backpack of at least 3,5 kg. Gunn Rita Dahle was at the startline as well! And a lot of other strong girls. At the second climb she attacked and got a small gap. But unfortunate I was not able to close it. So it ended up chasing with the Swedish Champ Jenny Stenerhag. The last part of the race was pretty tactical, and I lost that one :) It more or less ended in a sprint finish with Jenny. Third place for me! 

Still stiff and tired of the race, we packed all our stuff together for our real adventure! Super excited! See how far north we went!! :) The weather in Lillehammer during the race was very good, sunny and warm all day. Not so in Hammerfest! :) 5 degrees, raining and a strong wind! I actually found that nice, it somehow fits the view of an arctic experience. Odd Peder picked us up from the airport. What a great guy! Thanks again for everything Odd! Cannot thank you and Suzy enough. We will be back, for sure!!!

During our ride to Hammerfest you could tell already that it definately is different up there. I was looking for words all the time. We also got to see some reindeers. Check!

The pictures above don't need much words. Odd Peder showed us, in the meantime the guys from BULLS and Bettina joined us, the nicest trails around Hammerfest. You don't come much closer to real, rough, exposed nature. I think. Impressed!! 

Then, something really cool, I think :), is that we went swimming in the Barentssee! They say it was about 6 Degrees C! Hahaha, fresh. But I found this a challenge, and extra cool because then I went into the ocean at the southern and northern cape in one year! I went in first, and you could tell that the guys all thought: "aaaaah nooo, she is really going in, now we have to go in too!!" That was nice. I am inspired by this cold water thing a little longer already. I've read a book from Wim Hof (the iceman) which I can recommend you to read as well. This cold water is good for your body, and mind.

The next day was planned as a restday. Here the Skaidi Experience started for the other participents as well. We went out fishing. Between the fjords and also on open sea. So nice. Well.. in my case not really the actual fishing. I mostly enjoyed the views and was relaxing on the deck of the little boat. 

So now it was back to business again. We traveled to Skaidi, one hour into the countryside from Hammerfest. Here we would ride the Skaidi Xtreme race on saturday. Before having a look at the course, we visited a reindeer family with their Sami's. Interesting to see how people live while taking care of the deer. Afterwards we went for a ride on the track. Uff. That was hard! I was a little worried about the coming day, the terrain was just so rough! In the evening there was a nice opening ceremony where we could enjoy a barbeque and enjoy the atmosphere. 

Raceday! Just 41 km. But that took me almost 3 hours! Haha, uff.. You really had to work hard for every single meter! But it was cool, I like it when races are hard. I managed to win!! Juhuuu... Which made this week also very succesfull! In the evening we were enjoying a very nice dinner at the hotel in Skaidi. A lot of participents were there. Again local food was served, delicious! I also got a surprise :). I got rewarded with an original Sami knife (9") and traditional clothing. Such an honour. 

I must tell that I think I am not so good in really giving you the good picture from this week by text. With the pictures it already gets better, but still... The best is, that you try to go there yourself! The memories are in the end all what count. I am coming back for sure, no matter what! This week was so much more than just those 2 races. It was way more about meeting great people, exploring Finnmark, gathering new experiences, so good! 

Many many many thanks again, to the entire Skaidi Xtreme crew, and especially Odd and Suzy! See you soon.

Hielke