ACR 2019 – Skiing, Moguls, and the Sahara Desert – Part 1

Having already embarked on a challenging cross-country skiing adventure earlier this year, participating in this year’s Arctic Circle Race wasn’t just a casual endeavor for me; it was more of a “why not make it awesome” project. I had decided that I would only join if I could enter a lottery at work to cover the registration fee. I thought my chances were good, considering I had seen only a handful of colleagues on the slopes in the past few months. Exciting…

Oh no, suddenly 15 other colleagues appeared, all tuned up and ready for cross-country skiing. WTF?? 😳

Now, there were cross-country skiers in line like never before? 😳 😅😅
I wasn’t selected 🙁

I wasn’t selected 🙁

Instead, Pavia Tobiassen, who had been selected for the past 10 years, got the spot! So, my participation was dropped, and I could slowly start rebuilding a normal life with daily routines and family time. Besides, I felt incredibly tired after the Birkebeiner, so…


But a good friend, Frederik Lundblad, who was participating, didn’t accept that I wasn’t joining and asked me to think of an alternative. So I did 😬


I remembered that the world’s best car workshop (my car’s workshop) with the coolest and nicest mechanics had sponsored an ACXR runner before. I thought, “Why not give it a try; it doesn’t hurt to ask.” So, before going to bed one night, a week before ACR, I sent them an email, asking if it was possible to get a sponsorship for the registration fee. When I woke up the next day, I had a response: “That sounds like a good idea,” yaaaaaaay! 😄😄.

A few hours later, I also got a sponsorship from Greenland’s best IT company, Modulo.

Wuuuhuuuu, it was all falling into place. A sweet friend, Bodil Marie, arranged accommodation for Frederik and me in Sisimiut, another wonderful friend, Evi, provided reindeer skins as sleeping pads, and my lovely Inequ lent me her sleeping bag.

I could now seriously start preparing.

I needed to find new poles or a replacement for the one I broke during the Birkebeiner, consider whether to buy new ski boots (worn and damaged) or trust that the old ones could handle 100 km, fix my shell jacket (the zipper had broken), and get the last few things I needed (water bottles, thermal underwear, and gloves).

Frederik Lundblad gave me a ski pole that matched the other one, I sewed my ski boots and hoped they would hold up for 100 km, my mother, who was visiting me, sewed a new zipper into my shell jacket, and I received excellent service and support for buying a water bottle, thermal clothing, and gloves from I love yoooooooooou!! I am very grateful for all the help and very happy and proud to be supported as I have been, THANK YOU!

 Now I had no excuses, I was ready.

Arrival in Sisimiut

I arrived in Sisimiut on Wednesday, March 27th, around lunchtime. The sun was shining from a cloudless sky, and the temperature was around minus 10, just perfect. I dropped off my luggage at the family I would be staying with, put on my ski gear, and headed out onto the trails in Sisimiut.

Always feels like paradise when stepping onto the trails in Sisimiut!

Thursday morning, I woke up early and made a good, hearty chicken soup with lots of vegetables that I could take to the camp.

The day was to be spent shopping for some food, participating in the procession to the church, and attending the briefing at Taseralik. Frederik arrived already in the morning.

The procession was at 3:30 PM, and the church service at 4:00 PM (a solid tradition to be a part of).

Church service with good friends

Then we all went back to Taseralik for the briefing about the race. Here, they presented the routes for all three days, the rules of the race, and the safety measures in place.

First Day – 34.6 km

I woke up Friday morning at 7:00 AM, feeling completely rested and calm. I showered and got ready slowly and steadily. I felt good and took everything in stride. Of course, there was the occasional flutter of excitement in my stomach, but it was controlled. And you know what, this isn’t like me. I would have been in a panic, shaking with fear, having stomachaches, going to the toilet all the time, calling my husband to ask if it’s normal for me to feel this way (and he would say, yes, ALWAYS), and just wanting to go home again. But not this morning 😇 😳

The weather was okay, windy, but the sun appeared, and the temperature was around minus 7. Frederik spent a lot of time waxing our skis, almost forgetting to eat breakfast. Everything was packed, and we headed down to the arena.

We are happy and ready – Adam, myself, and Frederik in Taseralik

At 10:00 AM, we were shot off by the mayor, Malik Berthelsen. We ran the traditional round, around and up “Kvajebakken” (aka the girl’s hill), fortunately didn’t fall, and were set free into the wilderness.

The route for the day would take us past the ski lift, up the bottleneck, down the bottleneck, towards the leg breaker, all the way down to the sea towards Sisimiut, and up to the camp. Total 34.6 km. I prefer to break my run into parts. The first thing I wanted to focus on was getting to the ski lift (7.1 km from the arena), I wouldn’t think about the rest. I caught up with my lovely little competitor, Marie Fleischer, about 3-4 km after the start, who was busy fixing something on her skis. I felt good and was not at all stressed, calmly taking it ( 🙏 totally zen) and had the energy to focus on having a good experience of the day’s stage.

The drink station at the ski lift is on a small hill, so when you have to continue from there, you have to go down a hill. On this hill, due to the weather, the biggest Big Air ever had been built (maybe 30-40 cm high), which surprised me, and for a split second, I was doing the wildest ski jump. Hahahahaahah 😂😂😂

Uanga, on a 30-40 cm high ski jump in the middle of the trail 😱

I survived and continued towards the bottleneck. One of the uphill (and also downhill) I had been nervous about was the climb up the bottleneck. Because in this season and on the Birkebeiner, I had felt really weak uphill. We reach the up hill, and further up, I see Pavia Tobiassen. Woow, I have caught up with him 😊 2 km herringbone uphill/climbing. It went well; I stayed behind the guys and made it up. But fuuuuck, it was hard on the legs. The 160 km runners continued up, and we turned and had to go down again.

It was windy, and the wind was cold. This had created a nice and steep hill down to a natural mogul hill 😱. Mounds that had grown large enough that you couldn’t plow down or just ski down quietly. Suddenly, I was on that mogul hill, jumping around, screaming. I was terrified and at the same time almost getting cramps in my thighs from plowing and trying to brake.

Me, going down the bottleneck, not even intentionally. (It’s just a picture I found on the internet; it’s not me 😆)

Fortunately and coincidentally, at some point, I regained control and could stop. OMG, I was shaking all over and needed a moment to collect myself. I took off my skis and ran the rest of the way.

From the drink station at the bottom of the bottleneck to the drink station before turning towards the leg breaker, there are 6 km. And all the tracks were covered, so it was really strenuous to ski. Along the way, I had to go down a hill, which is okay and not steep, but because of the drifts on the track, I lose control and tumble. I don’t just tumble; I roll around, and my skis are everywhere around me. I just manage to think, “fortunately, I’m alone, and no one saw me,” hurriedly stand up when I hear and see a dogsled driver cheering and clapping at me, 😂😂.

I reached the last stage of the day that I had prepared myself to be tough and just needed to get through. A stage of 9 km, a looooong stage that goes up and down, the kind that pulls teeth and sucks the remaining energy out of you. But luckily, I know the route from previous years and prepared well for it. BUT, of course, there had to be a “little” twist on the route that almost killed me. I had just celebrated that it was only a kilometer down to the sea when the route suddenly turned towards the land and back, leading me steeply up a hill, just to make a “sweet and funny little loop” before reaching the last drink station. Shiiiiiit, my only reaction was shouting “Nooooo, whyyyyyy????” I was accompanied by Ulrik Heilmann, who looked back at me with the same expression on his face as I had.

At that point, I had no more to drink, was completely dehydrated, and had zero energy. It felt like we were in the middle of the Sahara Desert, covering many many kilometers, extremely thirsty, and looking like Jim Carrey. “Ulrik, do you have some waaaater?” Luckily, he had some energy drink in his camelback, so we stopped to drink.

This is how Ulrik and I looked

I crossed the finish line just after Ulrik Heilmann, after 4 hours of wild adventures, where I alternately felt fantastic, felt bad, was damn tired, and energetic on the way.

Angels of the Day

The angels of the day were a young guy named Jens Joorut, who noticed that I was struggling when I came dragging with Frederik Lundblad and my large bags. Like a true gentleman, he came running and offered to take both bags and carry them into the clothing tent, FANTASTIC! Qujanaq!

The other was physiotherapy Irene and her massage assistant. Irene took good care of my tendons near my bad knee, and I got a real massage.

And my kammak (companion) Frederik is the biggest star because he is who he is, but also because he had prepared the perfect skis for me.

There are always angels looking out for you and taking care of you when you’re on the move

Camp Fun, Day 1

Sitting and eating, telling stories from the day, laughing, and having a great time
Iggggg lovely people
Relaxing with candy and fun
My hero, who provided the most perfect skis every day, Frederik Lundblad

To be continued in part 2 in a couple of days, thank you for your attention.

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