Stranda Fjort Trail Race Race Report
Photos by Phillip Reiter and further down, ourselves.
The day after the vertical in Åre we packed our motorhome ready and drove towards Norway to take part in one of the races of the Golden Trail Series.
On our way down to Stranda, driving from a Sunny welcoming Åre and away from the Fjällmaraton week. We discussed while driving, if not just turn around and stay home for the weekend instead, running Fjällmaraton. An equally iconic race.
The hell rain in front of us by the fjords wasn't too appealing..
But we continued the drive. And actually, it wasn’t that bad after all. When arriving to Stranda we went out for a kayak tour which was very nice. It rained a little, but we didn’t mind. The second day we attended the Community run and met some people we know from home who were also going to run. The route was fun and we got a beautiful view of the fjord. We ran most of the run with Sylvia Nordskar. At the end of the run we got a sourdough cinnamon bun. Thaaank you. Very yummy.
Legs felt crap at the warm up. And the excitement I had the days before weren't really there. But tried to be positive and open if the feeling would change. Because I was eager to run, just frustrated the legs felt stiff and tight.
I didn't know how to dress either, a tank top and jacket? Only tank top? Tank top and sleeves? Or a T-shirt? I chose the last after the warmup, because it was pretty hot, and even though it was predicted to be about 1+ at the highest point, we would only be there a couple of minutes, and while moving, I felt it would be OK.
The race started with a 3 kilometer uphill gravel road. Usually that is OK so that the field spread out. But now we had to stand on the start line and wait for 10 minutes. So the warmup was long gone. But same for everybody.
As the start went off I didn't want to bonk immediately, but don’t take it too easy either. So ran in a steady pace and felt I had control. I knew I was ahead of some strong runners, so then it was just to keep on. When reaching the trail I felt clumpsy, and it took a while before I found a good flow to bounce up rocks and roots and walk as little as possible. On a little downhill stretch I gained 3 positions at once and felt motivation and self confident. I got very excited about that the last long part of the race was only downhill on technical part at first, and then the typical Scandinavian bogs and mud.
However I felt good uphill as well and joined these sections with strong uphill runners as Lina, Alessandra Schmid, Iris Pessey and Sylvia Nordskar, and some others I don't know the names of, all of US pretty close to each other. But I didn’t feel I was pushing so hard. Could I have done more? No answer on it.
The weather was better than expected, just some rain mist and low clouds. The mud was insane though. On the big steep climb I felt as I was greasing myself with nature's body butter (I was indeed doing just this). Because I had to use my hands to climb/crawl up and also putting weight on my thighs.
The climb wasn't so long, and I would have enjoyed one or two climbs more actually, somehow it felt really short. (I guess the skyraces I've done this year have included some more vert).
The rocky and slippery part we had in front of us downhill, I didn’t want to risk falling. So took it pretty easy. As it seemed the runners around me did as well. I could pass Alessandra and Iris and also caught up with Lina and Sylvia. I had so much fun and shouted to Lina how fun this was. It felt like we were out for a run together just a bunch of friends. And between the clouds we had some cool views over the mountains and fjords. The downhills felt easy and I played down.
Lina and Sylvia couldn’t follow, and that made me feel even better. Though Henriette Albon came from nowhere. My phone started to have it’s own life in my backpack and played some weird ringtones. I got the feeling I was in a computer game, sliding down the muddy, sharp rocks, and someone else was steering me. After some time it died, and I got back to reality. We came out on a long flat bog stretch. I had so much energy since I hadn’t waste so much in the downhill. So here I passed Henriette again, and went on my own. I felt fresh and felt like home. It was so nice. I love to run on soft, wet terrain. And actually, got a bit irritated on everyone who complained about the nature. (well, it got veery muddy later on, but hey, just accept it and get comfortable sliding a bit).
Suddenly I also saw 2 women in front. I came closer and closer and it felt easy to just pass them. I had control now in the downhill and ran on the moss to avoid the most slippery parts.
I kept same pace as a Brittish guy. And as he said, it felt like we were swimming.
I twisted my ankle a little and saw why. My shoe laces had gone up! So the shoe wasn't tight anymore. I stopped for a second and tuck it under the ribbon for the laces. I was too stressed to tie them all good. Maybe it would have been better to take those extra seconds. Because the rest of the trail I had to be careful and decrease the speed or I would twist the whole foot. It felt very unstable. But as we came out on asphalt it was easier and now I only thought about holding this position to the finish. I had no idea though which position I was. As I came in under the arch I thought there were pretty many women there, all of them looked like they just finished though, so I felt proud not to be so far behind.
Not long after came Henriette, Sylvia and Lina among some others I don't know.
Everyone very happy, and the atmosphere was great. I came 9th, so top 10 in my second Golden Trail Series attempt. 💥👌 Lina came 14th. What we both concluded was that we didn't push enough in the uphill, since we had more energy in the tank to give. But that just gave us more motivation for future races. 🙏