28 september 2011

The Ruta de los Conquistadores!

Heard about this race? I thought you not. Needier had I until I was hiking around in Engadine, a beautiful valley in the south east corner of Switzerland in August. To be more exact, the 26 of August. This is a story about something that I will remember for the rest of my life, hopefully with joy and excitement. But it´s not over yet, after November 5 we will know how it ended. The Ruta de los Conquistadores… In Costa Rica, middle America squeezed in between the Pacific- and Atlantic Sea.

Some of my close friend say, when they are talking about me, well you know; -”Staffan is doing his own thing as usual”. Like he have always done. People that don´t know me the other hand say, you are so lucky, things like that just happens to you.

That can drive me crazy, as some of you know, I don´t believe in luck. This is like a flood, it splits up in diverse directions and you govern your path. You can choose, either to take notice of success in life, learn and take care of what you just experience or you can choose to see failure, loss and all negative aspects in life, that way you will never experience luck. To quote one of the best skiers in the world ever, Ingmar Stenmark. He was interviewed buy a reporter after one of his many wins one season.
Reporter said; - "You had a lot of luck this season wining buy small margins, can you explain this".
Ingemar reply – "Yes, isen´t that strange, the more I train the more Luck I get"…
What I am about to tell you now is a true story about what some people consider Luck…

Topp of Piz Languard above Pontresina in Engadin
So it happened this time. One of our client and I had a interesting conversation about ÖtillÖ that was coming up quick (Island to Island) walking along the trail. Talking about hard and thought races over the world, fitness, staying healthy, training and about my lifestyle. After a short while he burst out, Staffan I have the perfect race for you! Have you ever heard about The Ruta de los Conqustiadores? I replay with some doubt in my voice, - No, what´s that?
The Ruta de los Conquistadores is consider to be the toughest mountain bike (hike and bike) race in the world. It´s in Costa Rica, biking for 4 days through the entire country of Costa Rica, west- to est coast. Pacific- to Atlantic ocean. 385 km, through humid jungle, single track roads, Jeep roads, asphalt, mountains, cold peaks, banana & coffee fields, small villages and gravel trails. The total climb of the race is 11,887 vertical meters (39,000 feet). Dose that sound challenging enough for you Staffan? My answer, - Sure it sound interesting, (not very convincing in my voice) when is it?
It´s between November 2-5. And one more thing, when this was first attempted buy Spanish conquistadores a half century ago it took them 20 years to cross the country, that´s how remote and harsh the nature and landscape is! My thought was, great… (a little negation was puring through my mind) but the other half told me something else, it really got my attention and made me curious? Later that evening at dinner he faced my, Staffan he said, I been thinking about this race, if you decided to come I would like to pay for everything, air fare and starting fee. And set you up with my team, LOTABURGER!

I took my decision right than, I have to do this race. Just because of my pure curiosity, can I finish this even do I´m not a real biker anymore, is it really that hard and will my body hold for all that physical pressure, what are a race like in Costa Rica where questions among many others. As, of what I (we) know, I will be the first Swede ever to enter and finish this race. Failure is not an option, it´s consider and though through in my mind but it stops there. I know it might sound cocky for not have been on a bike much last 6-7 years at all and for being a Swede. Do I have a choice than? No, if I doubt now I have already lost. That´s way nothing is impossible through my eyes. I like the challenge and to take a steep into the unknown future. Face what ever I might run into there. Buy doing this I can maybe direct and someway control my future. Even tho control might sound a little harsh. But buy always assume my and others success I increase my chance of success! It dosen´t matter what I do, our you, I always look on things this way! This is one tiny part of what I think people are talking about when they say, Be Positive. Look at this word and think about it, what dose it mean? I believe a part of being positive is what I just mentioned above. 

Like they say on the official website for The Ruta de los Conquistadores: "More than a race, a personal growth journey" That´s whats really got me interested, because I want to grow!

Official website for The Ruta de los Conquistadores: www.adventurerace.com

25 september 2011


Late september and I expect it to be cold and rainy. You know, as a Swede summer is over way long ago and our fall storms are shifting one after another. I can´t understand way anyone haven´t ever, not any Swede, or friend or anyone ealse for that matter told me that you can fly down to the Mediterranean Sea for no cost? Just pick your choice, France, Italy or somewere along this long and big coast.
Imagien this, could the wather temperature really be 24 celcius, 30 in the air? Could we really find great super friction lime stone for climbing, emptey beaches, great biking trails and no people this late in september and october? And upon all this, eat fantastic Italian past with amazing sea food, have a "kick butt" ice cream after a refreshing swim in the mediterranean sea and last but not least, sleep on the balkony! No, ofcourse not! Lets take me as an exemple. I´m used to drive a RIB-boat in Stockholm Archipelago this time a year and freez my butt of, with rain hammering my face like getting free skin lifting. By everyday, hour and minute it´s getting darker and darker. By this time a year I have had my long johns on since weeks back and walk around with my neck all cuddled up way down in my jacket.

You know, this was my world and reality just until a week ago when  it got to be my turn, my chance and drive down to the Italian cost and Finale Ligure. Than cross the contry of Italy to spend some days at Lake Garda and the town of Arco before starting of work again up in Austria and Bad Goisern. So when this train past the platfrom, and my chance to experience the Mediterranean I leapt on without hesitation. For those of you, like myself for less than a week ago, don´t know what this places are famuse for, let me tell you! Climbing, warm wather and hot nice weather, no people at this time a year, good food and ice cream, and lots of different sport activitys to do.

Lake Garda, sunset at 7.30 pm sept 20.
Dose this sound familiar? I thought so.

As for me I didn´t know a thing what to expext. But I know more now! Please get out there and explore the planet, there are so many beautiful places to visit and see, kulture and people to know! This note I found on a door to a cool and funky bar in Bad Goisern. It´s will end this inlay and it say something like this in German.


I will let the pictures tell you the rest, one picture tells more than a 1000 word. Isn´t that a Swidish saying? ;)

Repeling down along wild gowing hearbs before reaching the wather.

Yes, the wather is that blue! That´s way it´s called the blue sea.

Blue sky, blue climber, blue wather.

Final pitch, with a great view over Finale Ligure from the topp.

Five  o'clock in the afternoon we did a 5 pitch long travers that took 2,5 hours along the Mediterranean Sea. 

Summer again, happy! =)

17 september 2011

Back in Chamonix!

I`m back in Chamonix. After 3 days of hiking on the Italian side of Mont Blanc with a Swedish company. We had great hot weather, (25 celcius) one night at the Bonatti hut 2063 m and one night at the Torino hut, 3375 m above sea level. I got a lot of new experience how big groups can behave in varied situations. How altitude sickness, with it´s basic fact to expand on higher elevation effect people. But also as a mental aspect, how that can put some people in really hazardous positions. How fear can make you lose track of time and reality and lead you in to absurd and unreasonable thinking patterns. Finally your on the edge to where you can hurt yourself our others. That brings us to an interesting subject, about fear and how we create it ourselfs through our way of thinking. And how we handle and direct our thoughts in a way that either HELP us or steer us in to a negative movement/pattern! What are you afraid of and how did you create that? What was you first, second and third though (and so on) the finally lead you there, to where you are scared? Be curious, play around and discover yourself!

Tomorrow I head back to Italy and Como. I will meet up with Daniel for some climbing and more work in Austria.

This is the Mont Blanc massif from the Italian side, taken from the Bonatti hut next after 10.00 pm.  The white peak to the left is Mont Blanc, 4808 m above sea level. The closer one that looks bigger is Grandes Jorasses. Below you have the beautiful vally, Val Ferret with my favorite village around Mont Blanc, Lavachey!

ÖtillÖ 5 spet 2011

A little more than a week has just passed since ÖtillÖ 2011 ended. I'm been back on Sandhamn where the start of ÖtillÖ is and I already look forward to next year's contest. I would like to give you an insight into this race from the inside. I would try to get those who do not participate to understand why we love to stand there on the starting line, aware that we will just have to exhaust us to the maximum. How love and hate can switch from one second to the other for this fantastic race that runs through the world's most beautiful archipelago!

Me and Jonas, as you can tell, pretty happy about our 8th place at Utö
On the way out of the hotel we are greeted by a herd of people with black wet suits, orange bibs and red swim caps. For once, when we walked through the crowed with liked minded, we feel quite normal, which is unusual. Usual we meet of many strange looks when we're out training, sometimes by applause, but most often by thoughtful glances. One can really tell what
 they think; -what's that strange guys doing...
06.00 am at Sandhamn and the start. 200 racers are taken of for 9-14 hours of hard work.
Shortly before 6:00 the starting gun is raised, Magnus sits idle gas on the ATV that will show the first path and navigate all athletes to the water and first swim. The rest of the course is very well marked with colorful markers. BANG! The start goes and we set off in a high pace. As the third team we reach the water. The first swimming is the longest, just over 1.6 km long. Jonas and I'll take it slow and easy, we stop a couple of times, standing up on a few underwater rocks looking out over a boiling water, not only buy 200 swimmers, but also by angry water and mother nature, 10 m/s southeasterly wind which depresses the participants in the wrong direction. This means very strong head- or side winds depending on were you are along the course. The waves were the worst of 1-2 meters. The wind during the day would increase to gale (14.2 m /s). The sea was choppy and messy, and came from different directions. Jonas stopped me a couple hundred meters before the first island and asked me to look back to see the large Finnish ferry coming around the corner to Sandhamn. Despite our moderate first swimming that morning, we got up at around top 15 team on the first island, Vindalsö, which where followed buy a short but interesting run. As a ballerina thrives on the dance floor, I do the same thing in such terrain where you have to jump between slippery stones and rocks. I’m fast one that kind of terrain and love it. For Jonas it’s more of a survival test but he is still fast comparing to other teams. At the first checkpoint we reached, on Rummarö, we had a seventh place after around 2 hours, 9 minutes after the leading team.

At Nämdö, still going strong!

As mentioned earlier, running along these islands is world class running, hilly, rocky, trails, roads, varied, and above all that really beautiful. A short swim led us to the next island, where we where 3-4 teams including Jonas and me all together. Suddenly I heard Jonas screaming and I understand immediately why, because soil wasps attacking me quickly after. They slammed into our thin legs and quickly we have a bunch of stings that burns on our legs. As proximity card pops up, the third longest swim of the day came up shortly after, our wasp stings cool and at first we enjoy the water. When we reach land I walk up joke spirit with Jonas - How many jellyfish did you get all together, I had 738. This to block out my pain, as I quietly whispered to Jonas while we pass by some race staff. Jonas, my left shoulder was dislocated during the swimming... I do not know if he really heard what I said as we continue along the trail, with the same speed as before, into the woods of Nämdö. At Nämdö we still were top 10, 19 minutes after the leading team. Here is a big checkpoint; number 2 and I provided a tip to reduce the tempo to keep the whole way buy a friend who knows my way of racing. It would turn out to save my day later during the race. A short while later we reach the second longest swim, between Bunsö and Mörtö-Bunsö. The sea is really rough and cold, it’s hard to navigate when waves are high and we are so low. We didn’t see other teams in the water; we could just locate the boats that are a few feet away from the swimmers in the wild water. With a real axis and impending seizure we jumped in the water. A moment later, my legs cramping all over, stiff as frozen chicken legs, I wondered at times how I could continue to swim and dared not even think about what to do when we reach the shore. How was I going to walk up the slippery and steep cliffs with this pain full cramp? The pain was total, but somehow I managed to ignore this, believe above all that adrenaline floating through my body and the desire to finish helped me to block the pain so that it became bearable. Failure was not an option. Out of the water, I conclude that this was one of the toughest swimming along with the one last year when I swam to Grönskär as a preparation last year I done. I saw Jonas blue lips but did not want to say anything. Both cramping but I heard Jonas mantras only, keep moving! And that’s what so important in this race, especially if you like to finish, NEVER STOP MOVING! We stopped briefly in the woods, breathing heavily with painful cramp attacks, waiting for the muscle pain would be slightly more lenient so we could move forward. Easy running through the forest Jonas reach over for the camelback, hose to drink our homemade brew, Red Bull with sports drink and water. Fry spitting the liquid from his mouth as quickly as it arrived; he looked at me and asks me to taste it. I do the same thing, spitting and hawking, we just realize that I did not tighten the cap firmly enough and that we have just been drinking 75 cl brackish Baltic Sea waters. Of course we begin to feel what it would do to our bodies, abdominal pain, fever or what? But nothing happens and at Kymmendö we finally empty out and refilled our camelback with fresh water. The last mayor swim for Ornö we felt almost there, at Utö. But what wrong we were, 17 km of running can also take out the carbon on two hard boys. Only 1 km into our running on Ornö Jonas turned over to me asking for the first time how much longer it is left, an issue that would be repeated countless times next two hours. 
On Ornö just before the checkpoint at the church.

This far into the race you are tiered and the smallest thing could grow big, bigger and biggest! For the first time a starting irritation between us two grow up, we always laughed and enjoyed being together. Jonas thinks I'm too careless with water and drinking too much, not enough, so he accuses me of having broken the nozzle to our camelback, which makes me boil inside. But I'm keeping it for myself; I also see that he thinks the same about me. When we reach Ornö church shortcomings Jonas in a No, he knows that we are only halfway and have a few kilometers asphalt in front of us. It's hot, really hot and we are quickly and easily dehydrated. Jonas has started to dish out water periodically and I let him drink more. We left out of an old forest road that we both know leads down towards the water. That is so eagerly waited, three teams stand ready to jump in when we throw ourselves into the cool water. In the mind thinking and wondering, both Jonas and I what happens if you would pass out in the water, when our heads are spinning around, and we can start to feel a little seasick after all turbulent swimming. Some short, really bumpy swimming and hugely exciting racing later we step out of the water on Utö. The last 2.5 km we run in under 5 minutes paced/km, which makes us happy after 10.5 hours of physical work out. (That’s good) 10 hours 52 minutes and 54 seconds later we cross the finish line at Utö Inn with both of our goals crushed, into the top 10 and under 11 hours. We are happy with our 8th place beating a lot of full time professionals.

Internally, it's important that Team Utö with Jesper and Mats Andersson, two of the creators of this race are behind us. Their sponsor is Utö Inn with Anders Malm, the third cog and link to why this race exists, every year first monday in September. And a special Thanks to Mats Andersson and Michael Lemmel who made these guys thoughts and ideas into reality!

Of course, we saw Magnus Widell (our sponsors, Seglarhotellet on Sandhamn) won his bet with Anders Malm (sponsor Team Utö). About us, Jonas and I beating Team Utö again this year! Hope your evening with Anders (Anders will pay for Magnus all night) gets nice Magnus, we wait for our bonus! ;-)

Magnus is taken pictures when we, Team Seglarhotellet, are crossing the finish line at Utö!
To find more info about the race, and us see following links:








5 september 2011

Race morning!

Race morning, waked up at 4.30am full of energy. Exited for what will be acvived today. One hour to start now and everything feels great! Quick stop at bathroom and than get dressed with my best friend today, my wetsuite! And Jonas ofcourse! See you soo again all readers!

4 september 2011

Night Before!

Sitting in our hotel room now prepering and picking up our gear. This is our manditory for the race: First aid, wetsuite, vissel, maps, mapholder, compass. Jonas and I have starting number 53, Lag Sandhamn. We were out earlier today for a last swim, 10 m/s headwind and that´s the forcast for tomorrow. We have two competitive swimming tomorrow, first in the morning to Vindalsö and in the middle of the race, between Mörtö and Mörtö Bunsö. Right now it´s hard to say what to expect, but we know it will hurt. We are both really excited and hope to finish under 11 hours. That would place us around top 10. Our main goal is to have a Lot of Fun and enjoy the beatiful scenery of Stockholm Archepelago! To be a part of the race follow us live at www.otillo.se. They will update pictures and movies through out the day! I will update pictures after the race! Have a great day, because that´s what we will have, A Blast!

2 september 2011

2 days left

Today, 2 days befor the race I had a 20 min swim in the baltic sea along the course after breakfast. Water tempature is great, it´s still warm, around 17 celcius (63 F). This is to concider luxury for me, I`m used to glacier water that are freezing cold! I felt good, nice to be back in the water. Right now the forecast predict to be sunny, warm and really really windy on race day! 10-11 meter per second headwind. Not piece of cake but lots of fun. That suites me when it´s tuff and hard. Tomorrow I meet up with my partner Jonas, I really look forward to it!
Todays swim!
A lot of Jellyfish were my company, and when I say a lot I mean A LOT, might have seen around 400 just this short swim! 

More to come

This is how my blog will be, sometimes it will be updated frequently and sometimes less often, but please, be patient with this and look in from time to time! To fall into patterns, especially regarding to always have to be available at all times, is today taken for granted in society. I think instead of that, to be active should be obvious, to live out and dare to live your own dreams even if it does not follow the remaining amount of the population is something extra. 
Now, after had that said, I just wanted to tell you about two different storys that we went through recent weeks:Keni and I got a few days off and decided to climb Piz Käsch, near Zuoz in the Engadine valley, Switzerland. After our delicious dinner in our Hut, we quickly fell to sleep by the roar from some Germans guys singing in the dining room. 05:30 rang the alarm clock, Milow did get to sleep in this morning and insted we woke up to the beep from our watches. That led us instant to sneak down to breakfast. Half an hour later we were on the trail, aming for the instep to the Needle of Es-Cha and the traves that would led us to the top of Piz Käsch. After reading the guide book and realized that we were short on gear, we still decided to make an atempt. With a 30 meter rope and a few loops we flew up along the mountain side, a faulty in my navigation forced us back to try finding the right route again. Which later led us right up to the top. A animalistic Highme screaming made the top completele. More travesing on towards Piz Käsch. 1.5 hours later along the ridge we stood on the Piz Käsch, lunch. A Long decent, almost 5 hours of varied terrain, glaciers (37 degrees that day made it melt quickly and large amounts of water flowed down over the glacier), moraine ridges, trails and asfalt took us down to the cute little town of Bergün. A successful day like this were celebrated with a pizza and a Rösti at our hotel.After almost 3 weeks with between 32 and 37 degrees celsius, we would our third last day hike a easy and panoramic long traverse above St. Moritz with our guests. Day started with pouring rain, it poured down! Our umbrellas, well spent 10 Swiss francs saved us that morning, A nice group of marchers umbrellas plowed through the forest up towards the tree line. The rain subsided and the wind came up, hail bounced when they hit our clothes and smiling lips widened when the lunch hut appeared. Warm again inside, we withness when winter knocked on the threshold to Europe through the window. Big beautiful snowflakes were plummeting towards the ground and I could nothing but long for the winter. The lunch conversation came to be about skiing in the finest form, one after another told of his and hers best powder run from the previous season. When we step out the door after lunch the cloud started to break up and the sun pushed in our faces throughout the afternoon.The wind calmed down and we were enjoying the heat. Well done everyone, see you at dinner 7.30 pm was my last words befor I took of running up to our hotel room to get my wetsuit, to throw on the right equipment for a swim and run training. 2 hours later I come back, wet and cold after a long swim in the Sils Lac (Lake Sils Maria) and a short run, enough time to take a shower before dinner.

Piz Roseg

Es-Cha hut and Neddle Es-cha to the left

Great climb!

Summit Neddle Es-Cha

Wet glacier

Sils Maria in between the lakes

More informatin about Jonas and my race on monday sept. 5 (ÖtillÖ) will be posted shortley, with our preparations and strategy for the race!