After being on the podium many times during the last 10 years we once again tried to aim for the top and we were pushing very hard at the start of the race to stay with the leaders. This played out well for the first 24 hours where we were still barely 20minutes behind eventual winners Seagate. After that though we had a few mechanical and navigational issues and struggled at bit to keep up our early pace.
We kept our motivation high throughout the rest of the course and pushed all the way through, with the team working really well together for the full 83 hours of nonstop racing, with less than 3 hours of total sleep. Finishing 2nd at the world champs is a result we are satisfied with considering this year’s team is a bit of a comeback team after new parenthood, illnesses and injuries, though we wanted to be first… It was great to race with this team of Robert, Josefina, Aaron and Björn, who have raced together for 10 years now, making it one of the oldest teams around.
The race started with some running around the Jackson and Teton National Park area. Then we had fun Pack Rafting down the Snake River. We found ourselves bumping along beside many other teams, including Swedish Armed Forces, Tiki Tours (NZ), Seagate (NZ), Teton (USA) and FMR (France).
The afternoon of the first day saw us starting the first long trek amongst the leaders. A high pace was set up the hill and onto a ridge that we would follow at 9 000 feet throughout the evening and inti the night. Seagate set a blistering pace in the heat and altitude and one after another the teams dropped off the pack.
By the end of the trek it was early morning of day two and Seagate had established a 15 minute lead over a chasing group of 3 teams, including us, Swedish Armed Forces and Adventure Medical Kits (USA). The three chasing teams quickly formed a pack on the following 130km mountainbike ride, and worked well together during the sealed first half of the ride. AMK dropped off the group after a while, although competent riders they had been trekking very hard during the night and were feeling the pace a bit.
The second long trek started in the early afternoon in sweltering heat. We struggled a bit and made a navigational error that cost us half an hour and allowed SAFAT to catch us again. As the sun set, temperature dropped and we managed to pick up the pace again. We ran away from SAFAT, had a great 2 hour sleep in the forest and as we reached transition we were still in 2nd place.
Day three started with an extremely fun MTB, one of the best we have ever done, through historic mining town Atlantic City. Again, the sun was brutal and temperature rose quickly. We suffered in the heat and altitude and tried to make sure not to kill ourselves totally. Once again SAFAT caught up with us and the two Swedish top teams were riding together all the way to the next transition, for ropes and caving.
The climbing section and caving were done during day three, it was still very hot and we were careful to keep food and drink going in. Repelling down the sunny rock face almost made our climbing gear glow…
We had a quick transition and as we started the long 264km MTB in the afternoon it was still very hot, meaning our pace was slow. However all teams were feeling the heat. Unfortunately we made a large navigation error during the night and once again positions was swapped with SAFAT, who passed us during the night, pushing us down to 3rd position at the transition over to packrafting. Except for the nav error we did the majority of the ride well, as we (considering we slept one hour during the night) we were only losing time to Seagate amongst the top teams.
Day four started off with Pack Rafting on Parthfinder Reservoir and the upper Palette River. We passed down a beautiful canyon and crossed several dams. We took it very careful rafting down the canyon, not to damage our boat, which made our progress a bit slow. Once again we were travelling together with our countrymen of SAFAT (and for a while also French team Lozere Sport Nature), starting to get a bit nervous for the upcoming bike sprint over Casper Mountain to the finish line in Casper.
Both teams started the final 54 km bike at the same time, but SAFAT had to turn back due to a forgotten GPS-transmitter, giving us a few minutes gap. The first 20 km of the final ride was on sealed road and we were riding in line, swapping turns and doing all we could to maintain our lead. We gave it all we had on the 1000 m climb over the Casper Mountain, looking over our shoulders for chasing lights before we descended down towards the finish line in Casper City just as fast as we could. As we passed the last switchbacks in the park just before the finish, we looked back to see that no one had caught up on us, allowing us to cruise the very last bit over the finish line as happy 2nd place finishers at the 2017 Adventure Racing World Championship.
Now we will take a few weeks rest. Play with our kids, pick berries and keep our feets high. Thanks again to all of you supporting us, making this possible!
/Team Haglöfs Silva