It was hard to accept that it was once a year. The feeling of sitting in the car, packed up with wetsuit, bike and running-shoes while Average Joe were laying on the beach at the Canari Islands drinking Pina Colada. It was so hard to accept it. We wanted to go back to Hardangervidda and Mt. Gausta. The Canaries was not an option.
The birth of a new experience
It all started as a dream ten years ago. In the wake of the second birth of norwegian triathlon, Fredrik and Hårek (the founder of Isklar Norseman) started to play around with the idea of a trailrun consept, but the idea was put to rest. While Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon continued to grow, we still had this idea that Hardangervidda would be the perfect place for an ultra trail experience.
Then at the end of 2012, the idea resurfaced and Jan-Sigurd was included. The idea was refined, details worked out and slowly a concept started to emerge. But getting from idea to an actual race is an enduring process – especially when you want to use parts of Hardangervidda national park as your stage for creating moments and experiences. Fredrik and Jan-Sigurd decided to go all in.
The Pioneer Edition
July 19th 2003 we were standing on a cabin cruicer in Eidfjord. We were Norseman pioneers. It was a remarkable feeling of giving birth to an experience that has later influenced people all over the world.
July 12th 2013 we were ready for the Pioneer Edition of Salomon Xreid Hardangervidda. We were not on the Canary Islands. Fresh water from a lake nearby Dyranut represented this summers “Pina Coladas”. It was outstanding to see the 44 participants stoked and ready. The athletes had to face several trials during their path across the ruthless Hardangervidda, conquering countless mosquitos, crossing rivers and navigating in pitch darkness, before the final ascent of Mt. Gausta. 17 of the 44 Pioneers managed to reach the summit. Now we knew that this was possible.
The pioneer edition gave us valuable feedback and experience to take the Salomon Xreid Hardangervidda to the next step. The 2014 race is going to be even better with 100 athletes on the starting line ready to experience what Hardangervidda has to offer. We do not know what she has planed for us this year, but we know its going to be spectacular and provide our friends with experiences they will enjoy for the rest of their life’s. The race will probably not follow the same route each year. In 2013 the Pioneers ran 155 km, in 2014 the route will be 123 km. And if there is a conflict with the wild reindeers, the route will be changed.
We don`t know if any lyrics have been presented for the Norseman Audience before, but with love to Hardangervidda and Mt. Gausta it’s a duty to honor this great area with a poem.
It’s mere coincidence that the name Hardangervidda contains the words "hard" and "danger", but as I cruise along the east side of the highlands, I can see that it’s more than appropriate. Even now, in June, the landscape is showing its teeth. The stunted, low mountains are still shedding their winter coat and in the bare spots brown grasses and mosses can be seen, grey blocks of stone and dark granite too. The lakes are still frozen with a thin crust of slush layered with ominous cracks. Nowhere can I see water, yet everywhere around me I hear it flowing furiously. It is three degrees Celsius and the fell wind of the tundra shrieks. No, this isn’t the sort of place that the winners of the Generation Game were sent. This is the landscape that played the role of ice planet in the Star Wars film "The Empire Strikes Back". These are the highlands where the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen prepared his polar expeditions and on one occasion almost paid with his life for it.
The enrollment for Salomon Xreid Hardangervidda started Sunday December 15th and If the interest for Salomon Xreid Hardangervidda exceeds all expectations and race is fully booked within Sunday December 22nd 12:00 pm local time there will be a lottery among the qualified applicants.
Photo: Kai-Otto Melau