Welcome the Monster
Author : Mia Renz
The 2009 edition - the fifth of its kind – is taking the racers from the coastal city of Sundsvall on a great journey through the middle of Sweden en route to the mountains at the Norwegian border and back again. The summer season in Sweden is fantastic and light-filled period, when the sun circles high in the sky, dips below the horizon for a couple of hours, and then rises again.
A spectaular course where teams will travel through vast forests, on rivers and lakes, and in the high alpine mountains with a total distance of 1069 kilometers. It includes 29 sections, some are multi (more then one discipline), 15 Transition Areas (TAs) where 4 TAs are used more the one time and 5 Gear Zones, for picking up or leaving gear. The course is divded as follows Mountain bike: 38% , Trekking: 30%, Paddling / Sailing: 18% ,Inlines: 6%, Ropeworks: 5% and Swimming: 3%
Their is no short course at Explore Sweden Monster, it is a true monster. But we do give the teams a Second Chance. Teams who cannot possibly make the finish at 18.00 9th of July, and therefore would lose their ranking, will be taken off the course and transported to TA 16 in Sundsvall. There they will have the opportunity to get a ranking in a Second Chance race up to the Finish Line.
Today a bright blue sky welcomed all the teams to the racestart in downtown Sundsvall during the ongoing streetfestival. The teams paraded through town followd by a great bunch of kids from the surrounding kindergartens where they had made flags and cheers. In front Sundsvalls marchingband was playing.
A fast pursuit start took place at 12.30 sharp. The team started on a inline section. It was mandatory for the teams to start with the inlines attached on their backpacks with their poles in their hand running through the city. Outside the city the teams changed from the running shoes to the inlines, and in the lead was the strong Swedish team Lundhags adventure, followed by Swedish Team Explore and adventureteam.dk from Denmark.
After the first section the teams had an option on three different cityloops, a roofclimb, orienteering and swimming. The tight section was the roofclimb since only five teams was allowed on the roof at the same time. The fastest teams headed for the roof and the followers took their pic on either orieentering or swiming. All the teams passes through the TA inbetween each transition. A great crowd pleaser and a fresh wind in the ongoing festival!
When the top teams had completed the loops last years winner of Explore Sweden set the tone and took the lead. They had passed the first leg half an hour faster than estimated.
- Great, just as they thought, "said Björn Rydvall that normally assigned to the team but in this competition has been an assistant role.
However, the gap was not huge up to Lundhags, eleven minutes after them Norwegian team Multitude Salomon left. They were followed by teams in a steady stream, and half an hour after the lead was fifteen teams on the way west. The race has begun.
The next leg is a bikesection from Sundsvall to Ljungaverk where the teams passed throug Sweden's geographical mid point. They can´t be more in the middel than this. First to arrive was Lundhags chased by Danish team Adventure Team.dk.
One school of teams reached Ljungaverk after 121 km of biking. Within incredible 20 minutes were 8 teams in at TA 2. Infront still Lundhags, 12 minutes ahead of Multitude Salomon and Adventure Team.dk who came in neck to neck. Then followd Team Areva-Pure Energy, FJS, Adventure Team Finland, Merrel Haglöfs MultiMania and Sole Herkules.
All the teams did a fast transition within 3 - 10 minutes they where back out on the course. The next leg is inlines and swiming to Midadventure.
At TA3 Midadventure a monster feast is held by the lake and the villagers is coming out to join the racers when the teams do loops in and around the lake. The team members get diffrent tasks, two team members kayak and take two checkpoints on the lake, one team member run around the lake and the last team member does a high-rope course ended by a zip-line. The team join togheter to go down a big slide in to the lake, take a short swim around a float and then back to shore.
The teams will end this day by riding into the midnightsun on the section called Tour de Jämtland, a biking section of 256 km.
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