No, not scouting really.
More double checking sites captured years ago, so that trees have not grown in to the Picture, or roads have been altered.
Also making the effort to visit spots where we have used Google to pre-scout during the winter months.
I am busy in Norway right now. Wonderful country!
And expensive. Once you make a wrong turn, one can not just make an U-turn.
You have to concider "can I afford to go back"...?
Yes, I am doing the final check-up by car now. So shoot me.
Actually more convenient with maps, note books, papers and what not.
...and more comfortable. I still cant stand the heat, and even Norway is sizzling right now.
They have not been processed or beautified in any way - just clean shots in speed right through the front window with a simple mobile phone.
This is what ridning the Scandinavian roads look like - every night, always:
Actually no. You will be very lucky to get to see such a dramatic night sky. At least down here at civilized latitudes, this time of year.
Still - amazing sight and fantastic sense-around-show.
I came across a German couple who had dug out their loungers from the back of the camper van and just sat there, gazing at the sky.
"We should have gone to bed hours ago, but one just can't take the eyes from the sky."
No worries, things are considerably more under control than ever before, better by the minute.
Now, where did I put that pocket-calender sized map of Europe, the one with all the locations marked in it...
All joking aside:
Yes, the final preparations are well under way
Yes, we have a challenging event prepared for you, of a quality that you are used to
Yes, we have not been communicating with you, the participants, like we should have. Note taken. Will work on that for the next event!
Right now I can only make two promises:
1: You will have a good time. But only if you choose to have a good time!
2: You will travel on new roads and you will see new places!
Suggested final preparations:
So bring your swimming trunks...and the snow-shoes...and the sunscreen...and the winte rjacket...and passport...and colour printer...and cooking gear...and all the other stuff you KNOW you will need!
Questions: Will there be a lot of walking involved or will this be a "riding" rally?
A: Riding. That is what it is about. Sure, you will have to do some walking in a few locations but the mountains here up north are not as high as in the Alps...so the hour-long hikes up the mountains...no, will not happen here!
Will there be mandatory rest-stop-break-things?
Will there be gravel-roads?
A: In the rally area there are roads. All sorts of roads. Some are paved. Some are not.
Will there be a minimum mileage to ride or minimum points to collect to be classified as finisher?
Do you still have a spare place for one more participant?
A: Unfortunately one or two participants had to drop out for healt- or other reasons.
I have therefore decided that we will also accept last-minute applications!
Let us keep it simple: PM or e-mail to [email protected].
Will there be major changes to the rules compared to other events?
A: No. Only one small thing, it is actually so small you may miss it if you blink
The impact on the rally will be extremely limited.
We may have to cancel one or two bonus-locations but all that will be communicated at the Rally meeting the night before the start of the rally.
Yes, it is a difficult situation in some parts of Sweden at the moment.
This is a snapshot of areas where fires are raging right now, monday 23/7:
About 20 000 Ha in total, about 0,04% of the total area of Sweden.
Still it will not have a great impact on the rally, because this will be your playground, plenty of space...
The only thing I can say is Ride safe, stay hydrated and take it easy on yourself!
There may be a few last minute tweaks to help you battle the heat, but we may not be able to deliver our promise of "snow-hail-rain-2-degrees-heavy-winds-from-the-north", you know the type of weather that all bike riders love...
In Sweden it is right now the warmest summer of 250 years...
But having said that, the joke about the Swedish summer is normally along the lines of "-Oh, I remember summer last year, it was on a Tuesday..."
Remember that when we talk about "summer heat" in Sweden, it is anything over 25°C in the day and 15-20°C at night.
To see temepratures over 30°C is rare, this year we have seen up to 32°C, and that for a few weeks in a row, that is really unheard of and that is what the fuzz is all about.
Only a few "tropical nights" has been reported (temperature remains over 20°C also at night) so it is all in all very comfortable.
Only a few days left now.
Today I visited the Rally Hotel to check the final details and we are good to go!
Just a few things:
The buffet dinner is included in the starting fee. Time between buffet open (17:00) and rally meeting (18:00) is somewhat limited so we would like you to be there a few minutes early..
Since you will be arriving back in the early hours of Sunday morning you may want to enjoy the Scandic Hotel breakfast.
Please note that this is not included in the rally fee.
It is something you need to settle with the hotel, regardless if you have a reservation for Sunday or not.
A reservation nomrally include breakfast on the day of check-out, not on the day of check-in...
So, are you ready?
Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines!
Sorry for not bringing you an update, we have been busy also today, but back to the past two days:
The location of the 2018 European Tour is back at Scandic Hotel, Elmia in Jönköping, Sweden.
And the meeting room...well...we got a good one.
Also Scandic was kind enough to show a nice map of almost the complete riding area.
No, we did not order this, it is part of the normal interior.
In the parking lot was a mixed crowd.
Wednesday at 12, check-in started.
Dave manned the check-in desk, and he was, as can be seen in the picture, very busy...for 5 hours...
At 18:00 we all gathered at, or rather in Stelvio for the rider meeting.
A lot of familiar faces, all happy despite the blazing heat: 35 degrees C and a stong wind...
Hampe, President of IBA Sweden told a few things about the basics of the rally, including a small lecture about wildlife in the Nordic countries.
Elk...you do not want to encounter that on the road...500 kg of fast moving anilal, up to over 2 meter...shoulder height...
After this Rallymaster took over and told the riders a little something about what they can expect.
Talking about bonuses:
This rallybook include over 250 bonuses that is linked to locations.
On top of this, it include 30 combo bonuses that require you to visit 2 to 4 locaitons to claim the combo.
And to top this, it has over 20 Combo Flex, basically categories of bonuses. Visit X amount of bonuses in category Statues and you get some extra points.
Fact is, you can get a LOT of extra points this way...if you manage to spot the right locations...
Once all questions were answered, it was time to end the meeting and let the participants begin the 12 hour "plan and rest" period.
First start was scheduled for 07:30.
Comes start day
Already in the early hours of the morning the, team was ready to send the riders off.
Starting time window was 07:30 to 09:30 and each rider is required to be back, ready to be scored, within no more than 72 hours.
Dave, as always in good spirit was in charge of the starting process.
Daniel was the first to leave Jönköping at 07:30 sharp but it was a nice and very relaxed situation at the start area.
Some riders are on familiar bikes that has been shipped back and forth to the US a few times...
Some ride 6 cylinder bikes
And some are happy with two cylinders.
Either way, all were happy and by 09:30 they were all on their way!
Looks like they are going strong.
Some north, some south, some east, some west.
The mandatory rest window has now opened, they need to log 4 hours consecutive rest starting somewhere between 21:00 and 01:00 each night.
Always SAFE, because Safe is an integral part of Safe ling distance riding.
As a Rallymaster I am pleased to see that we have riders in all directions.
Now it is time to get some sleep.
Let us see what tomorrow brings.