Sometimes in life you get to do things that are far beyond your comfort zone, that push you to places, both mentally and physically, that you've never visited before. Last week I was fortunate enough to experience exactly that.
I've just returned from an incredible week in Norway, helping the IGO Adventures team run their unique N60 quadathlon challenge, a groundbreaking adventure race across the snowy tundra from Hemsedal to Geilo.
17 competitors plus 2 relay teams and a core team of 10 people spent 4 days fatbiking, skiing, running and camping with the Norwegian weather proving as challenging as any of the 4 individual disciplines.
The N60 Challenge brings together an interesting group of people. From the quiet and fiercely determined twenty somethings through to a couple of couples looking to push their physical and mental limits together along with along with a gaggle of successful, driven professionals out to challenge themselves like never before.
I got involved in this epic challenge through my good friend Jane 'Fluff' Birkin who was competing and attempting to raise £10,000 for Parkinsons UK (you can donate here).
My role in the week I endearingly dubbed 'IGO Sherpa'. Formerly I got involved in setting up camp each night, through blizzards, sub zero temperatures and gale force winds as well as running training sessions on Fat Biking before we left camp on the first day. I was also let loose on a Fat Bike to support the competitors across the stage in the Hemsedal valley. I also saw my role as doing whatever the competitors needed to make their lives a little easier in camp so they could concentrate on the physical challenge of the 4 days of racing.
Setting up camp was a race against time, trying to get as much set up as possible, or at least hot water and the warm tent fire, before the competitors crossed the finish line for the day. This was made more difficult by one of the competitors who was so fast (you know who you are) that we'd barely managed to get the water on before he arrived across the line. In spirit of the whole week tho, he quickly got stuck in to helping us finish the set up.
Nightly I was reminded about the social impact the simple act of burning logs can have as tired and weary competitors found their way to the main tent, gathered around the crackling fire to share stories of struggles and adventures of the day whilst tucking into countless dehydrated meal bags and awaiting their turn to be put back together on the Osteopath's table.
It may sound like a cliche, but I really don't care. I met a group of absolutely inspirational, charismatic and wonderful people and shared a truly memorable life experience with them all. I feel energised, excited and extremely positive about the future.
Congratulations to AdventureFerg, Mark and Henry for making the podium and congrats to Hen for being the top lady in 4th.
Thank you Bobby, George, Alex and Helmut for letting me be part of your incredible team for the week and thank you Jane, Ferg, Henry, Tessa, Hen, Shakira, Serena & Jim, Frances & Henry, Stuart, Neil, Mark, Karoly, Caroline, Tim D for being the most inspirational group of misfits I've met in a long, long time and Keiran, Johnny, Nico and James for being legends.
See some of you in Morocco.