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 (-:


steve said…
Hi Em and Chris. I went down to a mountain marathon in Wales in the weekend and drove with Sam, who is friends with a couple in Trondheim. They joined the Wing O club, so i assumed you would already know them and be doing fun things. Can't remember their names though. Can't be too many british orienteer types there though. Sam has done the BAMM in Sweden and it sound great. We may need to plan a visit next summer! Let us know when the snow melts, Steve
Helen Palmer said…
Like the pic of you in your stripey poly pro manically trying to get ready at the start Em! :-) typisk
I think Steve is talking about us and Sam is Sam Hesling who has run the BAMM with Ally the last 2 years. Small world!
steve said…
Yes, that's right, hello there Helen.

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