Explore Sweden Expedition Adventure Race 2009 - The 1000k Monster

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Looking After 'Les Enfants' at Explore Sweden

Marty Lee / 06.08.2009See All Event Posts Follow Event
It must have been early May when I was first approached to see if I might like to be an 'assistant' for the UK Helly Hansen team in the Explore Sweden ARWC race. As I'd never done or even seen a multi-day race, I thought this would be the best way to get close up and personal to one, without the sleep deprivation and extreme physical fatigue. I also thought it would be good to write up my experiences, for anyone else that either gets asked to help in the future, or is considering entering. <br /> <br /> What follows might not be anything revolutionary for those who have raced in these things before, but it's a far cry from the normal UK race scene I've been involved in.<br /> <br /> Of the 4 people in the team, I knew two reasonably well, one from some races and a New Year biking trip and the other I knew of, but had never really spoken too. Although I wondered if not knowing them would hinder my role, I concluded over the course of the trip, this would all change anyway.<br /> <br /> Although I was an 'assistant' and have some race experience, I deliberately kept myself out of the gear/kit conversations on email in the run up to the race and let the guys sort out what they were taking and what they thought they needed. Once the inevitable sleepmonsters arrived during the race, we would probably be the flash point if they had the wrong kit, so staying out of choices at this stage was damage limitation for the future.<br /> <br /> Over the course of June, email exchanges between the team increased and once I knew what my schedule for work was going to be (I'm an independent IT contractor), I opted to join in the 'road trip' on the way out; JB, Bruce and myself taking a VW Transporter from London to the middle of deepest darkest Sweden with all the team kit in it.<br /> <br /> I wondered what I would need personally to support the team - although it was likely they would be taking racing kit & tents etc, I couldn't guarantee it would be available for me to use - they might need it with them on some stages for instance.<br /> <br /> What would I do to pass the time when waiting for them ? I had race kit of my own with me, as I'd been Rat Racing in Bristol; so add in a couple of spare tops and I would be set for my own 'Explore Sweden' adventure. <br /> <br /> So I took my own tent and sleeping gear, plus enough clothes to last a week and bit. Quite a lot of it came back without being used, so that was the first lesson: Expect to be living in your clothes for a while. Travel light - you will have to move it a lot!

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