Tag Archive for #spotgen3

Crossing Borders, Adventure Report!

I have been home for two weeks and have had time to look through my notes, pictures and messages. I am still recuperating from the strain from the adventure so I take it easy when I exercise. However, I am in a generally good condition and have no pains or problems. Just need to pay attention to the recuperation phase and rest up.

When I think of what I experienced, I start smiling and I want to go back again. So many great experiences as well as hard and challenging moments too.This warm feeling I feel is a good sign!

Fredrik

Crossing Borders – Summary
I trail ran from Oviedo in Asturias to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, 330km with 8 300 height meters in 8 days. That is an average of about 41 km a day. All in all about 7,8 marathons. I am grateful to my body for allowing me to have completed this expedition successfully. And to all of you cheering me on along the way. Thank you!!

The Original Way

I set out to experience the the very first route that king Alphonso II walked in the 9th century when the news of the discovery of St Jacobs grave reached him. Little did he know that 1 200 years later, today, 220 000 people each year would follow his example and set out to Santiago de Compostela from different starting points across Europe. Everyone with an individual motive and reason. This year I was one of them.

Arrow!

Fundraiser – Doctors Without Borders
I think we can all make a difference. Therefore I dedicated my adventure, to Doctors Without Borders as a way to raise awareness and funds for their great work in some of the worst disaster ridden areas of our world.

So far we have managed to raise SEK 63 700 through the fundraiser! This is so much more than I could hope for and I am so grateful to all of you for chipping in!!

My supporting sponsors, SIX Financial Information, Twitch Health Capital, Ström2, MJ Training Club and Presentationsteknik have all been a great part in this work by helping in spreading the information about Crossing Borders, the fundraiser and also contributing to it. So has all of you who has shared the information and also made donations. This would now have been possible without you!! Thank you!!

Did you meet anyone on the way?
I have met people from different continents, countries, walks of life, ages and backgrounds. When I read through my blog again last night, I realized that I have even more stories to share and more people and encounters to tell you about.

Niclas and Nicolas

I know I was away for 8 days, but it feels like it was much longer with all the impressions. When I reached Santiago de Compostela it felt like I just started the day before. As the days went by I had a hard time discerning them from each other. Taking time to take pictures during my journey and to write my diary in the blog every morning was a big help. I noticed that I took many more in the beginning and less as I got tired towards the end.

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I have seen great views over the landscape in Asturias and in Galicia. I Have crossed mountains, valleys, rivers  and gone through dense forests.

Clouds

I followed lovely paths with storybook qualities. Countless tunnels created by the green foliage in the forests I passed through. This is the typical view or picture from the Camino.

Forest tunnel

It was tougher than expected, more beautiful than anticipated and surprisingly according to plan with just a few offsets. At these moments were when the preparations during Spring came into play. All those hours of training, preparations and planning gave me a lot of extra room to improvise and to maneuver while being out on the trail. The training at Haglöfs Adventure Academy has been put to the test, and passed!

What was hardest?
The hardest moment was after I had arrived to Castro day 4 and after completing 45km that day and I was tired. I looked at the itinerary for the next day and realized that the following day I had at least 45km in front of me again. This affected my mental state a lot and I can still recollect the feelings I felt at that moment.

Tired Fredrik

Another hard situation to cope with was at the end of each day when the distances on the map were not corresponding with the path. It could be an extra kilometer or 3km. These unexpected distances are short in relation to the full day. But at the end of the day they felt like forever and I found them very hard to cope with mentally.

The last day was the first day it rained. It started early evening as the sun started to set. In combination with a sidewind it created a huge contrast to the warm days, which I was used to. It felt really cold! I had decided to keep going and to push to reach the Basilica this day. With less than 10km left I had to make sure that I was in constant motion and kept the stops to a minimum. I kept focused and reached the basilica in Santiago de Compostela at 23:45 that evening!

Rain and dark

What was the best or the memory that sticks out?
Hard to pick just one, but I would say that the day when I went to Castro via Grandas de Salime from Pola de Allende.I climbed uphill sides and crossed mountain ridges and went all the way down to the river and then all the way up again.

On top of the world

The whole day was full of contrasts and spectacular views. Lots of height meters and a long distance.

Embalse de Salime

I was alone on the mountain side in the forest with no one in front of me and no one behind me. Just me and my backpack. It was amazing.

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What did you eat and where did you stay?
Along the paths there were villages with bars, restaurants and places to stay. I had documented where I could get what. So I knew how long I had between the places where I could get food, something to drink or stay over night. I ate normal food but had cravings for salty and fat thing. Eggs, bacon and french fries became a favorite. I had roughly a daily 4 000 calorie deficiency. I focused on making sure to also eat good and healthy things to eat. I counted on my ”storage” around the waist to supply the energy. This worked well for me and this way I did not have to force myself to eat all the time.

Eggs and bacon

During the days I had dates and nuts with me as extra energy and mixed in minerals and electrolytes in the water. Whenever possible and not too tired I filled up my Camelback and made sure to drink a lot when I had the possibility along the way.

Refill

Since I needed my rest with the strain from the challenge, I had decided to book simple hotels and an hostel (albergue) along the way for the first five days. Then I booked the last three places to stay day by day based on the form of the day. This way I could rest up properly and had a good start each day. I met great people at these places. Some of them I caught up with during the day as I ran past them. Good energy!

New friends

What was in the backpack?
I carried everything I needed for my expedition on my back. The satellite tracker was on top of the lid. The total weight of my backpack and running gear was about 6.7kg (about 14lbs). I filled up with 1,5 liters of water every morning so all in all I carried 8,3kg. Good thing was that I could stop for the day whenever I needed and I had all that I needed right there with me.

Haglöfs Gram 25

Gear

Being alone on this adventure implied risk. In order to mitigate this and as a safety precaution I had doubled up reserv equipment and simple supplies in a suitcase (I named it Bob). This way if I lost any of my equipment or broke something, I could replace that with things from the suitcase. It was sent on by courier to each destination. If I lost my backpack or broke something, then all I had to do was to get to the next stay of the day.

How did it feel to arrive to Santiago de Compostela?
It was a great feeling to arrive and realize that I had made it! It was hard to finish the last kilometers, but I did it! II was happy and tired when Sabrina came to meet and join me for the last kilometer.

Arrived

The next day in the city was very different from being on the trail. I was not used to have so many people around me. Here’s what I wrote in my diary about this day.

What would you do differently?
There are a few things I would change, but not that many. Next time when I take of my socks to check for blisters I am going to put on a ”compeed” on the beginning blister even if I ”only have 20km left”. I was tired at the time on day 7 and my logic was out the window. This will be a routine from now on.

The tools for documentation and blogging needs to be used at home in everyday life so that I have all apps installed and everything setup prior to being on the trail. Sounds so obvious, yet I missed this one.

Planning, preparing, training..
Many of the people I talk to thinks that training was where I dedicated most time. I did train diligently, but this was just a third of my work preparing for the adventure. The other two thirds were planning and preparations. I put together a complete project plan with a risk analysis and everything. Then I had to try out the gear and test everything so I knew exactly how to use them when needed out on the expedition. Same thing with knowledge and skills. First get the knowledge and the practice on how to apply it.

I did a field test in Asturias in June where I tested everything. This gave me valuable insights and let me adjust my gear. Here’s the article where I describe this.

This way I created a stable foundation for when I needed to improvise. Essential for reaching the finish line smiling. At the basilica

What is happening next?
Right now I am still thinking and processing what I have experienced. I know I want to to do something again, but not exactly what. Suggestions are welcome. I have a few running competitions coming up, and then my official goal for 2015, to complete a long distance triathlon, Ironman. This will require dedication and time, but I still want an adventure or two like the one I have experienced. This is a very addictive experience and I long to go out again!

Adventure

Arrived!!

I arrived to Santiago de Compostela last night before Midnight! I was received by Sabrina and she joined me for the last kilometer, which felt like forever. Legs heavy but still willing to move forward.

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Then in front of the basilica, off with my backpack to send the last GPS coordinate via the satellite tracker for this adventure.

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In total I have covered 330km in 8 days!!

During the afternoon I received reports from the fundraiser, Doctors Without Borders had posted an article on Facebook, which received many positive comments! People sent in donations and sent me messages. What an energy boost!!

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I will publish my report from this day (day 8) tomorrow.

Follow me as I go – Satellite tracking!

This is available in the main menu bar under ’My Adventure’ select ’Satellite Tracking!!’.

Using the service Mapongram and my Spot Gen 3 (satellite tracker, which I carry with me), it will be possible to follow my progress on the Camino Primitivo here on this map. Modern technology put to good use! 

The satellite tracker also allows me to let my family and contacts know that I am well. In case of an emergency I can send a distress message to the national rescue service for immediate assistance. Good to be safe.

On my way – Wheels up was at 06:20 am

I am off for my adventure, Crossing Borders. Excited, nervous, full of energy? All of the above and more! I am at the finish line of preparations and at the same time soon crossing the starting line of my adventure!!

Weather
I can expect between 17 to 24 degrees Centigrades with a between 17% to 27% chance of rain every day during the whole expedition. Colder and bigger chance of rain at the beginning in Asturias. Then it will grow warmer and less likelihood of rain as I enter Galicia.

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I will need to drink a lot during my expedition. I estimate 1 to 1,5 liter per hour when I run. I will mix mineral and electrolyte tablets with the water in my Camelback.

Nature, plants, wolves and bears
The terrain will be challenging. Lots of up and down and very diverse. Thorn bushes with sharp thorns and burning nettles hanging over the path. Loose stones, roots across the path and pot holes in the ground. Covering the legs and using the trail running technique to the fullest.

Thorns and nettles

There are wild bears and wolves in the area but most likely they will stay away from the noisy runner on the path. If I encounter any of them I will be cautious, talk loudly and remain calm while backing away slowly. I will definitely write about it on the blogg!

Equipment
I have made an inventory list, I have weighed everything and this is what will make up my clothes, shoes and the content of my backpack. It weighs 5,3kg and my running gear adds 1,3 kg more. Total 6.6kg all in all.

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Inside the backpack I have a waterproof bag in which I have put everything sensitive to water. Rain jacket is as always right under the lid of the backpack.

Safety first!
I have focused on the first aid and safety equipment. With my own knowledge, the advice of Olivia from Adventure Medicine and from Fredrik Karlsson from Twitch, I am bringing with me a good and thought through kit.

Running gear
Shoes, poles, running clothes, poles and shoes are all my favorites and thoroughly tested in battle. No changes, and no surprises.

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Relaxing clothes and compression tights for after I arrive to each daily destination will be welcome.

Photos, videos, blogg
Technology will be a big part since I want to bring home memories and share my experiences. I expect to see spectacular views and maybe if I am lucky some exciting wildlife!

Technology

The Powertrekk fuel cell charger from myFC is with me and will ensure that I have power regardless of where I am.

Haglöfs Adventure Academy – Class of 2014
Crossing Borders is my examination project at the academy. The training has been crucial for this expedition. Therefore I will sign off with a statement from Ola Skinnarmo, our principal at Haglöfs Adventure Academy: ”Preparations and research is what ensures that one will reach your goal with a big smile”. So true.

HAA Class of 2014

Onsite field test in Asturias

Preparations and being ready for the unexpected
Trail running 300km with 8 000 height meters in a foreign country in 10 days. How does one prepare for a challenge like this? The short answer is of course research, plan ahead, prepare and practice. By thinking through the adventure as a whole it is possible to list what could happen and what is required.

Asturias Camino del Norte

This is a process where time, good advisers and patience is required. I have identified essential things, which I cannot do without (backpack, shoes, first aid kit, clothing, communication tools etc). Then I listed the non-essential things in a prioritized list in order to decide what I could bring along depending on the final setup of the adventure.

Testing out findings and equipment
I have tried out different components of the equipment in order to decide which one would suit me best for this challenge. It has been everything from clothes, cameras, chargers etc. Then once I have decided I familiarized myself with each single thing. The purpose was to be able to use the gear I bring with me without guessing how to use it when it is needed.

Equipment

I have updated my skills in first aid and I strongly recommend everyone to do the same. An unopened first aid kit is not as good as one where the things inside have been used and replaced with new ones and knowledge on how to use it properly.

Since the adventure will take me through remote parts I have decided to use a satellite tracker, Spot Gen 3 fastened in the mesh pocket on the lid of my backpack. It is now a good friend and I am comfortable with how to use it to let my family know that I am ok as well as to send out for emergency assistance. In essence, it all comes down to practice, practice and then practice. It is as true as it is said, repetition is the mother of all knowledge.

On site field test of equipment in Asturias
Two weeks ago on Midsummer’s day, I flew to Spain to continue to trek along the Northern Route (in Spanish: Camino del Norte). I have been doing this with my girlfriend Sabrina about one week every Summer for the last three years. It is one of those things we look forward to and enjoy doing. This year we went back to where we ended last Summer in Villaviciosa in Asturias to trek through the region to the border of Galicia.

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For me this was the perfect opportunity to try out the equipment and clothes for my adventure, Crossing Borders, on site under similar conditions. As it turned out this was a valuable trial and after 6 days and 160km of mainly trekking, I came home with notes and feed back on what I needed to take into consideration.

Conclusions and findings from the field test
So what did I learn? After a few days I noticed that the socks I had chosen left a gap between my skin and the back of the shoe, which then hit the back of my ankle. After this going on for a few days it caused a burn, which in turn could become a blister. I managed this by cleaning and then taping the skin. I kept it under close watch and made it home with no blisters. These socks are now replaced with another model and are staying home. This could have been a real problem during the expedition.

Salomon S Lab XT 6

The shoes I have chosen, sponsored by Salomon, S-LAB XT 6, worked great on trails, gravel and in terrain. However, not so much on asphalt. After long distances where the path merged with regular roads my feet were feeling tired and tender. Knowing the effect from this trip and given the terrain for my adventure I will keep the shoes and now know what do to depending on the surface. The poles from Exped are so far the best ones I have found. Light, durable and easy to use.

My backpack is a Gram 25 from Haglöfs and it is light and comfortable to wear while trekking and running. Good pockets and easy to fit. I will keep this one!

Gram 25 Haglöfs

Total weight carried was 5.5kg plus 1,5 liters of water. I would like to lower the weight of my pack with 1kg. I have reviewed the items and their purposes and have updated the list in order to lower the total weight of the equipment. Feels somewhat like chasing a white whale, but with some common sense I am sure I can improve the quality/weight ratio. The hunt for lighter yet durable things is on!

By selecting another headlight with the same batteries as the satellite tracker and a pocket knife instead of the multi tool, I lowered the weight with 300g! So there are things to do here. More news later when the list of items is decided.

What is next?
I am putting the last pieces together, checking the gear and deciding on the tactics for how to complete the adventure in the allocated time frame. Sabrina will be my local emergency contact in Madrid. She will be continuously updated on my location and status. I will leave some extra funds and identification papers with her  in case mine are lost. She will also join me for some parts to cheer me on. Keeping spirits high is important during a challenge like this one.

I will have a packed bag near the route with spare shoes and gear, which can be sent out to my location in case something is broken or lost.

Happy Fredrik!

Preparation is key to reach the target with a big smile as my instructor Ola Skinnarmo from the Haglöfs Adventure Academy taught us.

Thank you! Keep spreading the news!

 

Thank you all for your support for this project and for spreading the word! So good to have you with me in this. It is a real energy boost! Stay tuned and I will keep posting updates right here on the blog and on the Facebook page as well!

Don’t forget to make your donation to the work of Doctors Without Borders right here!

Fundraising page: My Adventure – Crossing Borders!

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Adventure Training – Carrying stones instead of food!

Adventurers Are Not Ordinary People
Ordinary people go hiking in the Swedish mountains to regain energy and to enjoy nature as a contrast to their everyday life in the city. Nothing beats sleeping outdoors and cooking your dinner over the camp stove. But(!) we are not ordinary people, we are studying to become adventurersPhoto: Ola Skinnarmo This last weekend we had our final exam at Haglöfs Adventure Academy. It consisted of three full days trekking, camping, canoeing, navigating, mountain biking and working together as a full group or in small teams.  We were 14 students and 3 instructors.

Safety First!
I have to add that the instructors, Ola Skinnarmo, Carl Hård af Segerstad and Glenn Mattsing had made sure that all was done in a secure manner even if the challenges we encountered were tough. The exercise kicked off with a briefing where we were given the objectives and the outline of the weekend ahead. Little did we know that one of the main points for us to practice was to adapt to ever changing circumstances and improvise while maintaining our good mood and always finding a way forward. We were divided into seven teams and I was teamed up with Fredrik Eklund, good guy!IMG_1073

Stones Instead of Food
We had planned to start the excursion on Friday, then Ola Skinnarmo, our principal told us to get ready, we are leaving now (Thursday evening). Off we went to pick up our rations for the expedition. However, there were no rations, only cobble stones to carry as a substitute for the weight of the rations.IMG_1061

No Sleep and No Food, Why Not?
36 hours of no food and little sleep commenced. ”It is always better to practice these things in a safe environment so you know how you will react if it happens when you our out on a real expedition”, Ola beamed. He was right and we knew it. Now, we thought it was going to be 72 hours, but as it turned out, they had planned for 36. IMG_1134The next 36 hours we walked, navigated, slept (a little), woke up in the middle of the night, walked some more, saw a glorious sunrise, Photo: Ola Skinnarmothen set camp at 06:00am on Saturday morning. Up with the tents and two hours of the sweetest sleep ever!

A Surprise and a Canoe
After this we were briefed that we would go canoeing and that we had a gift from them. Food! Hard to explain the feeling. I wasn’t hungry, but I got very emotional to see the two bags for me with five meals and snacks. I just shouted out ”YEESSS!”.IMG_1339 Then we went by canoes to Sälen. Beautiful and very relaxing. Then we had lunch before the next surprise… IMG_1210 ”In thirty minutes we will start the practicing on how to rescue your friends in case a canoe tips over.” We all got ready and then we took turns in tipping our canoes over and then with the aid of another canoe, emptying the water before we could climb up into it again. Afterwards we all swam across the river as another challenge. We dried up, changed clothes, got our gear together and hiked up to the road. Next surprise, mountain bikes! I like running up and down hills, but I must say that I wished so much that I had practiced some more on biking uphill prior to sitting on that bike last week-end. IMG_1223Actually I wish I had biked at least once before! So up we went with our backpacks and together we made it to the top. My thighs were burning but I made it! A quick rest and then we left our backpacks and went downhill to return the bikes before walking up the ski slope again.

Injury!
My team mate Fredrik fell on his bike when we went downhill and had an injury on his collar bone. He went with Carl to the hospital to have it attended. We wouldIMG_1228 then meet up the next day at the dinner celebrating that we had all completed the exercise and completed all the challenges. He is a strong guy Fredrik, and we had lots of fun while we completed task after task prior to his accident.

We put up our tents and then it was time for some rest. We found a great campsite wright by a small lake. Bliss! IMG_1285

Navigating
Next day I teamed up with another good friend, Frida. Her team mate had to leave so we were paired together for the last day. IMG_1317We practiced navigating with map, compass and with the GPS. Great day and then even better when we reached our final destination and were greeted with a cold beer and then a shower before dinner!IMG_1304 The dinner was to die for, and after a good night’s sleep we had a great breakfast. Then we packed up, hugged and made our way back home. All in different directions. Next stop is for us to perform our own expeditions and to report back.

Conclusion
What an experience, what a group and great instructors. Everything was planned so that we would be challenged all the way. IMG_1329At the same time Ola, Carl and Glenn kept encouraging us and keeping our spirits high at all times. I want to be like you when I grow up, that is for certain! Thank you for a great experience and now I can’t wait to embark on my own adventure, Crossing Borders!

Stockholm Outdoor – Haglöfs Adventure Academy

Stockholm Outdoor – Haglöfs Adventure Academy Foto: Niclas Sjöqvist 
Friday 6th of June and the following day the class of 2014 at the Haglöfs Adventure Academy met up again at Stockholm Outdoor Exhibition on Djurgården.

We started with a session where Annette Andersson, adventure photographer,  taught us on what makes a good picture. Very interesting and for us an important skill to have since we have to be able to bring home pictures and tell our stories after we have finished our expeditions. Afterwards there were 14 students taking pictures from every possible angle to find the perfect composition!

 

PStefan, Paolo and Iasta time with Paolo Roberto!
At Stockholm Outdoor he served different types of pasta from recipes from his family in Italy and local inspirations from Rome and Napoli. The truffle one was the clear winner!

 

 

HAA 2014 EskaderKayaking
What does adventurer do after the exhibition closes? Obviously(!) we get a kayak each and then head out with our packs to find a nice campsite to spend the night. Dinner provided by 24 Hours Meals/Blå Band Expedition Meals. Shockingly good! Modern freeze dried food and soft tin packaged wet food has truly evolved.

 

Next Day – SaturdayPowerTrekk in action
We got up early and during breakfast I used my USB charger from PowerTrekk. It has a kick(!), it generates electricity from water using a catalyst puck. Perfect for the outdoors!

 

 

Photo: Daniel Börjesson

Back to Base
After packing up we went by kayak back to the exhibition for the second day of training. First off some of us (not me) bravely practiced the technique for performing eskimo roll with a kayak, impressive to see when the instructors showed us how it is done.

 

 

First Aid TrainingBrandmannalyft
Then it was time for the last session. First Aid with Adventure Medicine. Good knowledge to have! Oliva showed us that size truly does not matter when it comes to carry a person using the fireman’s carry technique.

 

 

In conclusion
To be with this group and listen to the different sessions is inspiring. Lots of good knowledge and ideas. Soon I we will be out on our on expeditions and I am looking forward to my own adventure Crossing Borders this July!

Satellite Tracking – Field Test

Field TestPreparing for adventure the safe way!

Field test of Spot Gen III satellite GPS messenger and tracker. Saturday, great long distance session, 3hrs and 23km.

’I’m OK!’ Message worked and the tracker updated my position on a Google Map every five minutes when I was in motion. Brilliant!! Follow me on this page for my following tests in the Stockholm area (next test on Sunday 25/5 at 10:00 am CET):

Here is my ”Find Me Spot Sharing page”. Click on the link and you can see where I am!

 

SPOT Gen 3Here it is, the Spot Gen 3.

Important to have it facing the sky at all times! So I keep it strapped onto the lid of backpack or on top of the shoulder strap of the backpack.

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