Andris Ansabergs (Latvia), Sander Linnus (Estonia), Joosep Tammemae (Estonia), Reeda Tuula (Estonia).
RF: How was your team formed?
Joosep: We became a team 5-6 years ago. One of our members, Arvi, fell sick and Andris is replacing him. So now we have a mixed Estonian-Latvian team. I’ve been racing with the Latvian guy before, but Sander and Reeda haven’t. We three have been racing together and I’ve been racing with Andris together.And now we’re all together.
Sander has been doing adventure racing for the shortest time.
Credit by Leonid Zhukov
Reeda: I think it’s my 4th year.
Andris: Seems I’ve been doing it forever, more than 10 years. I was 16 when I started, so it’s 13 years.
RF: Could you tell how did you start doing adventure races?
Andris: As for me, it was all the same because I was doing the orienteering and some people from the orienteering were doing this sport. I heard about it and thought: “OK, it sounds more interesting than the orienteering”. That’s how I’ve started.
Joosep: I’ve started as a cross-country skier but I wasn’t very good at it, so that’s why I did running competitions. Though, they became a bit boring and I picked up orienteering, which is more interesting, and then from there I went up doing adventure racing.
Reeda: I also started from cross-country skiing and still do it. In winters I do marathons, it’s also fun and I love snow. During the spring, summer and fall time I do running, biking and so on. It becomes boring to do just the running competitions. Four years ago I substituted someone in an adventure race and realized: “Well, that’s the thing to be at”. So now I’m more focused on adventure racing out of the winter season. It’s really cool, the best way to develop.
Sander:I’ve started with ski-orienteering, then bike orienteering, then cross-country skiing. It leads to rogaining, and adventure races seem to be more attractive. I’d like to know how I can deal with these conditions. Before now, the longest race I took part in was 14 hours. So this one is quite new for me.
Credit by Sergey Alexandrov
RF: How do you train for the races and how do you manage to combine it with the work?
Andris: I don’t work, so… =) So it’s super simple to make it.
Joosep: For me it’s easy as well, because I don’t work either. But I’m going to work when I get back so I can’t still tell how I will manage it. My work is not permanent; it’s some kind of projects here and there. And I will have more time for training then those who work traditionally from 8 to 5.
Reeda: I am working full time at the university and then go for some freelancing, so there’re one and a half jobs. And I have two kids and a full household. So during the week I don’t train much, just to keep myself fit. At weekends there’s a longer time-off. Either you’re racing or rogaining or biking or orienteering or running… or doing adventure races. During the week I’m more focused on work and home than on the races.
Sander: I work from 8 to 5 at the building company. After that I train. Quite simple schedule.
Credit by Natalia Lapina
RF: And how long do you train?
Reeda: It’s different. It depends on what exactly do you train. For example, when you’re biking, you need at least 3 hours. If I do running, there’re also different ways to run. Intervals or some exercises and sprints or the long distance. It depends again.
RF: Why do you like adventure races?
Reeda: Why do we want to suffer? =)
Joosep: At first, adventure racing is really interesting all the time. You’re in a new place, you can explore and discover; rocks and climbing stages make it even more interesting. I always like to explore new places and I think it’s a very enough reason to do it. Of course, it’s hard, it’s cold and wet; you have to be out for days. I don’t know, it’s a human instinct to be competitive. To see if you can do it.
Reeda: In one competition you get everything. It’s not that you go just for orienteering or climbing or biking. You get everything in one package.
Andris: First of all, it’s travelling; you go to a new place. And then there’re for example three days and you see so much for such a short time. You paddle, you run, you bike and after that you will know the surroundings almost like the locals do, because you are on the lake, in the forest — everywhere. You also meet people, local people during the race. It’s a way of travelling where you can see more. It’s just like regular people travel and visit museums and we travel and go around the place. Same as go hiking or go by boat; we just do it longer. And since we’re doing it faster, we can see even more than you can see in a day trip or so.
Joosep: It’s an active way of sightseeing.
Reeda: And there’s another dimension as the guys don’t have kids and I have. They’re still small, 5 and 7 years old. So I get out of home and I get my vacation, 100%.
And all the people like to develop and test their limits so in addition to everything it’s testing your limits in every way, developing in a short time in many ways. Not intellectually but physically.
Credit by Leonid Zhukov
RF: Do you like this place?
Reeda: For me it’s a third time here and I may think it was my fault that they decided to come here. Because I really wanted to come back. I said it’s the closest and probably the easiest way to come here. And plus, it’s the most wild thing you can do. If you go to Europe, there’re many things you can’t do and many places where you cannot go. Everything is more directed. And here is total wilderness.
Joosep: And that’s nice that we’re in the wilderness. I was racing in February in USA near Las Vegas and we raced about 70 hours but all courses were on the tracks. There were routes and it was forbidden to go off the track because of the environmental stuff. So it’s very cool that here we can go everywhere.
Andris: It’s also nice season to come here: it’s white almost all the time so you can see the beauty of the nature all the way.
Joosep: There’s a lot of orienteering and we believe we are better comparing to other teams. In our homelands, Estonia and Latvia, the terrain also requires more orienteering skills than during other races in Europe.
Reeda: It’s possible to find a place in Latvia and Estonia to compete in the wilderness. But it depends on the race and its organizers: sometimes they set the distance in the city, sometimes in the wilderness.
RF: Do you have enough time during the race to enjoy the nature?
Joosep: In this race — yes. I think it’s the big part of the race and actually of the experience. It’s why we are here because, when you’re very tired and you see the beauty, it helps you to keep on. It’s a spiritual experience. Sunset, sunrise, and you go together with your team so it’s also a part of teamwork, something that makes the race more special. You’re not suffering alone. It’s hard to explain until you try.
Credit by Roman Reutov