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Sleep Strategy and Sore Feet Half Way Into The Race

Press Release / Photo : The Swedish Armed Forces Team / 15.07.2019

Honza Zak

The Nordic Islands Adventure Race is now moving into its third night, and the leaders, Swedish Armed Forces Adventure Team, are at Transition 5, having completed nearly 390km of the course.  So far they’ve covered more than half the 667km distance, but in terms of time they are probably half way through the race as they will slow with fatigue and need more sleep for here on.

Their strategy was to take more sleep than they normally would on a long race, maybe a whole 8 or 9 hours over the 4 to 5 days!  They didn’t say why but given they are the most experienced team in the race, the defending champions and on home territory they will have good reason and the other teams might do well to follow their lead. They will know the difficulty of the terrain and weather, and pace themselves for the course.

They will also be more used to the short nights this time of year, which could be difficult for the visiting teams to manage.  With only a few hours of semi-darkness natural sleep rhythms are thrown out and up to now they may not have taken enough sleep and/or pushed harder for longer than they normally would, simply because there is so much daylight.  So, now the fatigue is really kicking in, especially after dealing with wet and windy conditions today, it wouldn’t be surprising to see teams take long stops tonight.

Behind the leaders are the other Swedish team in the race, Hamilton Adventure, who were able to continue thanks to borrowing a bike from Philippe Geral of Agde Raid Aventure Ensangble. He was injured and unable to continue so leant them his bike.  

The Hamilton team were put together after scouting for some new young(er) racers within Sweden and came from other sports to form the new team for the first Nordic Islands race last year.  Since then they’ve learned some painful lessons on pacing and foot care at the recent Raid Gallaecia and they will be determined to cross the finish line this time out.

The Adge Raid team are one of two continuing unranked, the other being the all women’s team Holiday Club Åre, who missed the final CP on the third stage trek and were taken to TA4. This team too is newly formed and stepping up to Expedition Racing for the first time.

At TA4 they met up with the US team Chaos Machine Balega and travelled with them for some time, but it looks like the American team is falling back now and they are currently bringing up the rear behind the Synergy Kuwait Extreme team and the Australian team Hard Day’s Night.  The Australians are joined by British adventurer Maria Leijerstam who now lives in Sweden, while the Kuwait includes two Australians!

The other two teams in the race are Tuc Tri-Absolu Raid and Storm Racing Canada, and they will be on stage 5 tonight, which was meant to be a trek/packraft, but the high winds meant the packrafting had to be cancelled so it became a trek. (Underfoot conditions were most likely very wet and aside from sleep strategy the teams all highlighted foot care as a priority before the start.)

There are two more packraft stages to come, and stage 6 is rafting, while the penultimate stage is a long kayak, so teams will be spending lots of time on the water as move through the Fiords of Norway  towards the finish at Alesund.

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