Already a little bit nervous about what was to come, I said goodbye to my girlfriend and Stitch in Geneva. My VAKE partner Nils Arne was already waiting for me at the airport. We had studied the maps at his home for any possible wind related variants of the race. At this point it was already clear to me that the navigation could be a decisive factor during the race.
On Monday morning, after having a fine meal prepared by Rita, we began the rest of our journey. This meant another flight, this time the pilot had to land only from sight at a very small airfield. Then we traveled on by bus for three hours, stopping on the way at several outdoor sport shops where we bought the last useful but also ‘not so useful’ things.
In Bergevang we made the final preparations to our material, which had also been controlled by the race stewards, in order to ensure that everybody had the required tools for the race. The race meeting was held after material control, followed by dinner which I could barely eat due to my nerves.photo by Liz Palm
In the morning we were brought to the starting zone where we waited for the start signal. Once all of the teams had arrived, the start signal went off. Nils and I both had a good start underway with a Flysurfer Speed4 10. But after only 10 minutes, Nils experienced some difficulties necessitating a change to a Speed3 12. After criss-crossing for one hour, we both switched to bigger kites in 12 and 15. Soon we reached the “Big Valley” and from that point on we had to make 400 meters elevation. This proved to be a lot of fun with fantastic powder conditions. After arriving in the valley, however, we had to fight hard with our kites to climb up the other side. After another hour of kiting and an hour’s run we reached the 2nd checkpoint. Here we were obliged to take a rest for at least two hours, so we decided to camp here as we would have had only another hour and a half for the official race stop for the day. I felt weak in the evening from dehydration, since my pipeline had frozen during the day, so I decided to crawl straight into my sleeping bag and get a good night’s sleep.
photo by Liz Palm
The next day was an early wake up call at 0500 to prepare and have breakfast as we wanted to get started at 0700. It turned out to be a very successful morning as we were really able to catch up using the bigger kites, moving up to 2nd place just before the Mattavarri checkpoint, the most south-west point of this journey. Since we were not aware of our ranking, we took a short break and enjoyed the view over the Fjords.
From Mattavarri we had our first downwind ride towards north-east to the next checkpoint Bergebyvann, which we reached with varying difficulty, sometimes very slowly and other times at a great pace.photo by Liz Palm
On the lake there was no wind at all, but I still managed to come close to the checkpoint. Nils Arne struggled as he had no support from the wind, requiring him to run for the final 400 meters. Unfortunately, his binding had broken and I could see that he had taken off his skis. I decided to ski in his direction to find out what had happened. The result was that we had no more chance to compete and had to give up the race. The disappointment was huge, as all the other sponsored equipment had functioned superbly.
A big thanks goes out to my supporters: Flysurfer, UVU and Rossignol for their top-level support.
Greetings, Michael Kaspar
Read original article: Flysurfer News:VAKE 2013