I write this text upon arriving in Lulea (Swedish Lapland). Here there is not an inch of land not covered with snow, not an inch of river or lake that is not frozen. An idyllic but tough place, attractive but challenging, friendly but stern landscape. At 3 pm it was getting dark and at 4 hours was deep night. Cold and snowy outside, but inside myself I feel warm due to the heated excitement of being about to live an intense experience in a new place in the world for me.
Since today I have the following schedule:
- Friday 14th: Morning for final material review and preparation. In the afternoon, we travel to a camp that the Samis have assembled for us, around 200 km further north. Safety Briefing and test performance, and the first night sleeping on the ice.
- Saturday 15th.: Early wake up for medical review last logistical issues, and at 12h starts the 1st. Stage (and the ICE ULTRA, of course): 46 km through forest Lapps, always north, following an ancient route of the Samis of the nineteenth century. All the journey crosses an absolutely protected area by UNESCO, where it is not permitted even movement of snowmobiles. We'll find plenty of soft snow and snowshoes will be essential in many sections. We will for sure at night to the campsite.
- Sunday 16th.: 2nd Stage - 50Km. Start at 8am, with the first sunlight. The day with more mountains and more uphill. For sure this day will be tough, but we will have the prize of being able to find all kinds of animals in the area. This day I hope to arrive with the day light, that means before 15 p.m.
- Monday 17th.: Stage 3 - 44Km. Start at 7 am, before sunrise. The first part crosses through thick forests with very soft and deep snow, where every tree, leaf or branch is frozen and snow battered. The second part will pass through an area of lakes, and ends across a 15Km. frozen lake to get right to the campsite.
- Tuesday 18th. & Wednesday 19th.: 4th. and final stage - 90Km . After the 140 km. "warm up" for the previous three days, we will run a double extreme marathon, starting at night (5 in the morning), and returning to find the next night. We have two days to complete this tough stage, and it will have a full menu: Abundant wildlife, forests, mountains, lakes, open fields, and if the day is good, good chance to see some overnight aurora borealis.
Well, as you can see: we will suffer a little bit, but we will enjoy much more. It will be an excellent opportunity to live intensely an special and little known area of our beautiful Europe.
I've been more than 25 years doing all kinds of challenges and adventures around the world , and I realize that I really like that, and I'm so happy doing it, because I'm always very excited when I am about to start a new project. Right now I'm with the same enthusiasm that anyone who would do one of these activities for the first time. And I just wish it never runs out me this innocent and romantic part that pushes me to always look for new experiences and new horizons.
I will be very disconnected these next 6 days, but my team will be reporting for the different systems: Web, social networks and Race Tracker (a geolocation system where you can follow me in live time, on my website).
Ladies and Gentlemen: Have a good time... I'll contact again next Thursday, because I'm going to 'test' the snow!