So I have one main (cycling) goal for the following 14 months, enter into and race the Rovaniemi 150. It’s a winter race held inside the Finnish part of Arctic Circle, better known for being the home of Father Christmas! The race is only two years old and the third race starts next month, so I’ll be entering into the fourth edition.
Currently as I type, they are experiencing temperatures as cold as -24*C (not including windchill!). I have it on good authority from an experienced winter rider that the cycling is the easy bit, but dealing with the cold and getting your camp-craft nailed is the tricky part. Hmmm!
Of course, if I were to go out in Cheshire, along the country lanes, I could do the distance in sub 8 hours but that’s not the whole story, so lets look at the previous results to get an idea how tough this race can be;
- In 2012, only 3 finished out of 13 with a finish time 31 hours 45 mins
- In 2013, 23 out of 37 finished with a time of 17 hours 17 mins
I would hazard a guess that the variance in race times for the two years boils down to two factors;
- The racing was more serious the second year, the riders had a time to aim for and the field had more competitors
- The snow conditions were not as bad in the second year. Perhaps less powder and more compact snow helped the competitors achieve a faster time
So, in order to compete in the race, I’ll need the following;
- new Fat bike (currently in the process of building up)
- winter sleeping bag rated to -30*C
- clothing that can be used down to -30*C, although this is the tricky part. Its not just a case of adding more layers to keep warm, as cycling even in those low temperatures is sweaty, the clothing will have to be super-breathable to prevent the sweat from freezing inside your clothing!
- new multi-fuel stove as gas just wont ‘cut’ it in the low temperatures