As a warning, this post is mostly therapeutical writing but maybe you get something out if.
It seems that endurance sports are not for me. I like relaxed endurance sports and I’ve participated in some longish skiing events and military reserves marches. These kind of low intensity endurance sports are great way to test your trail fitness and for me serve also as a motivation for training. But it is now almost a year since my last event. That one was a 42 kilometer marching competition with 10 kilo extra load (my total was around 15 kilo). Me and friends did it in a bit over eight hours placing third. It was great fun but my feet were totally blistered and sore…
Marching in Jukajärven jotos 2010 military reserves competition.
Last summer I was going to participate in 24 hours Retki rogaining competition but I got into a car accident just before the competition and couldn’t participate. My team maters did great and finished 17th out of 49 teams, and they were participating first time ever! About a month later I busted my knee (dislocated knee cap) while orienteering and this prevented me from participating to my almost traditional annual military reserves skill and marching competition where we have usually succeed well. In October I was going to participate in Mammuttimarssi (Mammoth march) in a marathon series, meaning about 60-70 kilometers of orienteering thru a cold and dark night. I was excited but the tendons in my good knee became inflamed because of rigor training to get the busted knee working again. I had to cancel my participation once again. And by the way, Mammuttimarssi is an interesting “under ground concept” and grants also points required to participate the legendary UTMB (though I’m not planning to take part in that). In year 2010 the most hard-core participants in Mammuttimarssi run 160 kilometers in a bit over 20 hours. Mostly in dark, self supported and partly cross-country. Very, very though guys!
A busted knee somewhat ruined the end of last summer
This weekend is the Kaukopartiohiihto weekend. Kaukopartiohiihto is a skiing event to honor the memory of the Finnish long-range recon patrol men of the Second World War. The competition has four series: 75km, 150km, 225km and 300km. Time limits are 12, 24 or 48 hours depending on few variables. This means that the most hard-core skiers ski 300 kilometers in less than 48 hours using the not-so-good army skiing equipment… Last year I participated in the 75 kilometers distance and we finished it in 13 hours and 20 minutes. We were aiming for 12 hours but ankle problems of one of the team members slowed us down a bit. This year I was going to get finished with the 12 hour goal but I had to cancel my participation. This time the reason is inflamed tendon in my right foot that also bugged me last summer.
Self portrait after skiing 75 kilometers in a bit over 13 hours.
So… I think it is needless to say, but I am frustrated! But I should be able to pull myself physically together before leaving to Svalbard. I just need some ibuprofen, rest and ice for my foot. Mentally everything is ok.
Hopefully the rest of the year will be better and I can give a shot again in the events I missed last year. Despite my bad luck, I highly recommend everyone who likes long distance hiking or skiing, to participate in this kind of events! Naturally they differ from regular hiking or skiing trips but they are nice little motivators and fitness tests. In addition to those that I mentioned some other interesting events include: the Off-track skiing wold championships (and there is also snowshoeing option), the Finnish championships in wilderness hiking, the 100 kilometers walk “Sysimusta satku“, “Marathon of Dangers” a marathon and ultra distance trail running in the fells of Koli. Just to mention few. There are also biking and paddling events, so go find your own!
So where was the MYOG then? I though to use the unexpected free weekend with MYOG projects. I have still some sewing to do for Svalbard. The plans for the weekend include boot covers, adding storm flaps (or snow valances or what ever you call them) to my Hilleberg Keron 3 GT and simple sled bags.
Half-way ready bag for water bottles and snacks.
For boot covers I have some Keprotec, Goretex Pro Shell and pile. I have sketched a simple model with partial base and zipper in the front. The model is adapted from T-tossu boot covers. These are really necessary as only few boots (and even fewer that fit NNN BC system) are warm enough to work in arctic temperatures without extra insulation.
The storm flaps are compulsory feature for all (ant)arctic tents. They help to seal the tent from spin drift, make the tent warmer and less drafty. I have already cut mine from hefty silnylon (probably the same stuff that Hilleberg calls Kerlon 1800) and now I just need to sew them on: tens of meters of straight stitch…
The easiest way to pack gear in sleds or pulkas are simple duffel bags. Most of the duffel bags commercially available are way over engineered, heavy or at least expensive. I am going to make simple bags out of lightweight waterproof cordura, the measurements will be about 40 x 40 x 65 centimeters meaning some 100 liters capacity. The sled should easily fit two bags. The bags will have one big compartment with one zipper, an inner pocket, compression straps and that’s about it.
More about these projects and the complete gear list soon…