I wish I could write this post so that I'd do justice to Tromso Skyrace, but I cannot. Words to describe that rugged landscape of mountains, lush valleys and winding little rivers that can be reached by foot from the city centre are far beyond my poor vocabulary and imagination. Being there is deeply impressive experience physically. Also, being there with seven hundred other runners who share the same interest makes it even more unforgettable. I'm definitely not alone with my passion.
Tromso Skyrace was my first ever skyrace. I'm not sure what skyracing means officially, but in practise it's running on mountain trails. I found the competition year and a half ago when 2015 race was already sold out. This year I was ready immediately when the registration opened and I clicked myself to participate Tromsdalstinden, the shorter of the two races. Tromsdalstinden was told to be 28 kilometres with approximately 2000 vertical meters, but I think it was eventually a bit longer. Longer distance, Hamperokken Skyrace, was 53 kilometres with approximately 4600 metres of ascent.
The race started from city centre, went over Tromso Bridge and started to climb to the mountain next to the city (where the cable car goes). Little descent to a soft green valley, after which the route started to ascent to Tromsdalstinden. My operated knee worked well, and despite the craggy and steep downhills I could run every meter. I also managed to brought just enough water and energy with me. I ran out of water at some point, but there were lots of little mountain rivers from where to drink.
Competing has never been my strength. I always expect more than I can do and somehow I'm always disappointed beforehand to my performance. Usually I secretly wish the competition, any kind of, to be over soon. Tromso was different. I smiled all the way. After first five kilometres I was already sad that I have only twenty more kilometres to go. I had GoPro and my phone with me, but I was too selfish to take any pictures and share them with you. Luckily the other runners weren't like that, and my Facebook feed is full of beautiful pictures taken along the route.
I believe all the hiking we did last winter carried me through the rocky uphills. My Suunto Abmit3 sport watch counted the vertical meters approximately 200 meters less that they actually were. My watch showed only 1750 vertical meters five kilometres before the finishing line, and because I knew that the total amount will be 2000 meters, I was expecting one more uphill to come. It never came, and I could spent all my energies to the last downhill.
In Tromso, the list of competitors was surprisingly international. Nevertheless, trail runners from all over the world seemed to form a community of positive and delightful people. Everybody smiled and cheered, no one seemed to be alone. We get to know some Finnish runners, and I think I finally found a perfect training partner. Asta and Janne taught a lot of practical things to me what comes to racing like a pro.
Tromso Skyrace was held third time this year. The event is organised by two of my big idols, Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg. They both are amazing trail and mountain runners and I was happy to see them IRL in Tromso. Their appearance made me think that I don't really need that much of anything but sport wear and a little cabin on mountains. I could easily live in a hut, eat pasta and run and hike all days around. This was best ever kick-start to my long-awaited summer vacation, and I from here on I want to spent all of my holidays doing something like this.
However, I'm still not sure whether I should participate other races this year. The problem in Finland is that there are no mountains where to organise races, and going to south of Finland to race is...well, I rather drive up north to Norway. Shorter distance, better view.
P.S. I'll compile you A Mini Handbook To Norway. It's an expensive country, but with few little tricks you can save some money.