google blogger on Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Sweden makes an ideal adventure-racing venue for many reasons, chief of which is its preponderance of summer daylight. For racers tackling Explore Sweden in July, that translates to nearly 24 hours of nonstop action that can stretch as long as 670 miles (1,078 kilometers) and take between four and seven days. Though Sweden's terrain is mellower than that of other locales, the race attracts a flock of strong international teams, who, in the last six years, have transformed it into something rare: a world-class competition open to anyone.
What levels the playing field is that racers never know what to expect. Each year, the race organizers get creative, coming up with a new route and a new set of activities. In 2010, racers traveled 520 miles (837 kilometers) from Norway's high peaks, down through Sweden's river valleys, and to the Baltic coast, trekking,mountaineering, kayaking, mountain biking, and rappelling along the way. Past races have taken participants canoeing, sailing, and what the Swedes call "coasteering," or traveling sections of dramatic coastline by any human-powered means, such as swimming, paddling, and climbing. The diversity ensures that those who complete all disciplines and limp across the finish line after days of nonstop movement will have some serious bragging rights.
Explore Sweden is open to any four-person team willing to pony up the $3,500 entry fee (www.exploresweden.se).