25-Feb-2015 09:03 - Final week before the race
This week-end, Daniel and Joachim completed the last training camp in Ål. Daniel decided the best training was to cross 17 fences and 4 rivers with the 50kg sledges. Smart move! We gained a lot of cooperation and troubleshooting skills and are prepared for the worst, even though there are no fences with barb wire on Hardangervidda.
The last couple of days before departure is all about eating carbs, resting and packing. Packing is not the most fun of these three tasks, but slowly but surely the bags are packed and the pulk is polished.
Weather forecast is grim as always; strong winds on Thursday meaning start might be delayed. However, Team Voyage Manager will head west tomorrow morning in good spirits!
12-Feb-2015 20:42 - Great training conditions in Oslo
With only two weeks to go, the Norwegian part of Team Voyage Manager are happy to report great training conditions in Holmenkollen, Oslo.
Joachim is out pulling the sledge 4 times a week. In the week-ends, 1 year old Oda is one happy camper in the sledge, sleeping like a true Norwegian baby for two hours straight while daddy is sweating up front. She only complains when daddy feels the urge to go truly off-piste. On weekday nights, Oda is substituted by firewood and lifting weights, so that the sledge reaches the required 40 kg (new rule from last year, the team is slightly worried about this).
Joachim also completed Holmenkollmarsjen, a ski-race without sledges (!!!!) last Sturday in dreamlike winter-conditions.
Alex has, in addition to joining Joachim at weekdays, been up in the mountains experiencing a proper storm this week-end – great prep for what we’ll experience on the plateau in two weeks’ time.
The next couple of weeks will be all about staying healthy, getting equipment, and measuring everything, so we’re making sure the sledge stays steady and reaches pretty much exactly 40 kg.
And next week we’re excited that Daniel will come to Norway, so he can at least SEE some snow before the race starts – we’re worried he’s forgotten all about it.
05-Feb-2015 20:40 - Serious setback in Cambridge!
Disaster struck in Cambridge last week; Daniel lost his precious tyres! Clearly someone even more lunatic than Daniel must have seen the joy with which he pulled the tyres along river Cam and nicked them from the secret storage place (behind a tree next to a bench, by the river) to get some proper exercise himself.
Luckily the issue got resolved quickly thanks to the local tyre shop, and Daniel has now upgraded to bigger tyres to ramp things up for the last weeks and everything seems to be on schedule.
28-Jan-2015 09:44 - Four weeks to go - Preperations in Norway and Cambridge!
Four weeks to go, and finally the good ol’ Norwegian winter is back with a vengeance; 30 cm fresh powder is optimal when training for a race where there are no tracks.
The Oslo-based part of Team Voyage Manager was out for 3 hours last night, using the same gear we’ll use during the race for the first time this season. That means sledges (filled with 35 kg of firewood – not part of the race equipment), and “mountain off-piste skis”. Springer Spaniel Grappa was of course joining us for motivational reasons.
Alex chose to head-plant in the first downhill of the day, so from there on we felt the evening was quite realistic in terms of harsh winter condition. After a lot of ups and downs and sideways, we ended up climbing the longest slope of Oslo’s alpine resort Tyvann right after it closed for the evening. This climb greatly resembles the terrain straight out of the starting gates at Expedition Amundsen, only with slightly better grooming of course. On with the ski skins and straight up we went. Puuuh!
In Cambridge, Daniel struggles a bit more with finding race like conditions. Although there has been temperatures below zero lately, Daniel has yet to find any snow. Nor has he found any hills, except for the bridge across the A14 motorway.
In terms of equipment, we’re now all proud owners of arctic bedding – a waterproof bag to keep your sleeping bag rolled out, ready and dry. Important gear to reduce set-up time in camp.
We’re also considering two pairs of skis at this year’s expedition. One pair with ski skins and one without, to eliminate the hassle of taking on and off the skins during the race.