Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Journeys: From here (Germany) to here (Norway).

I'm travelling light this time. I've been in Germany visiting some dear friends of mine, to enjoy sunshine and wine, and to run amongst the vineyards. 

Amidst the vines of Weingut Dautermann on my last visit in 2009:

From Germany, I am flying to Norway. YES! Last year, racing at the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc, I met a Norwegian runner and journalist who invited me to come to his country, and to race in a small race with a big heart. 

The Rallarvegen (Image courtesy of Daniel Novello):

The Rallarsvegslopet is a 2-day mountain race that immediately captivated me. The race is centered around the station town of Finse, a small collection of weathered buildings that can only be accessed by rail. The runners all stay together in the same hotel, Hotel Finse 1222 (a reference to the elevation of the train station), and run a cumulative distance just over 80km on the famous Rallarvegen, a construction road that was used to haul the materials needed to build the Bergen Railway line. 

Hotel Finse 1222 (Photo courtesy of Kim Mallady):

Now, over a 100 years later, the road attracts over 20,000 cyclists in the summer, and even more importantly, acts as a means to transport people through the most beautiful, rugged and mythical landscapes. Imagine running, surrounded by a unique alpine climate (home to Europe's largest reindeer stock), ancient geology, mountains reflecting the movement of ice millions of years ago, wild valleys, waterfalls, and glaciers. 

An alpine wonderland (Image courtesy of Michael Mortensen):

Following my race in Italy I have been resting and relaxing, more than running. I have found the change of pace nice, to listen to my body (and my blackened toe nails) telling me to take it easy. The race on the weekend will be one for enjoying the views, enjoying the company of the other runners, and for testing how well I have recovered following my adventures in the Dolomites

Day 1 (Flaam - Finse) profile:

Day 2 (Finse- Haugastol) profile:

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