This is the leg!

Elisabeth Edland shares about the leg from Skoganvarre to Levajok 1.

Written by: Lise Ottem/ transl. Elisabeth Simonsen
Date: 10.03.2012 22:45

Elisabeth Edland from Nannestad has finished FM-500 four times and has experienced that the race generally offers tracks in good conditions. – Except from in 2007, when it was a lot of sugary snow, and it was very, very hard to run, she says, and adds; - after you have taken off to the left from the big ski track in Skoganvarre there has been a lot of ice chunks and some water from creeks in the area. You have to be extra careful so that none of the dogs slide or injure themselves. How the track will be this year, she of course doesn’t know yet.

The leg between Skoganvarre and Levajok 1 does not offer technically difficult driving, even though it crosses the Gaisas and has some long and gristly hill climbs. The tracks have been blown over with snow sometimes, but it still hasn’t been hard to find the way.       

Edland explains that there previously where some very steep hills out from Skoganvarre. The track has now been changed and the hilles in the new track aren’t as steep.

Especially the race in 2007, when her female leader dog was in heat at the start, Edland recalls vividly. Going up the hills they caught up with Thomas Werner and his open class team. As she had passed Werner’s team with the first four of her dogs, her leader spotted “a handsome young man” and turned around to mate with one of Thomas’ dogs. Thomas handled this in a good way; they got the dogs away from each other and kept moving.

Elisabeth thinks back to previous Finnmarksløp; - It’s when I leave Skoganvarre that I feel the race really begins, it’s more clam and everyone does their own thing. Last year we had amazing northern lights here. On this leg, I’m always the most tired. The excitement from the start is wearing of, you have been out a long time, and you know it’s still a long way to go. – The last two hours before you get over the edge down towards Levajok are the hardest. Everything gets better when you reach the belt of trees closing in on Levajok 1. The dogs also like this and as soon as the dogs liven up, the musher also wakes up.     

Robert Sørli passed Edland and her dog team in just this area in last year’s race. – He had good speed and I felt like my team were standing still in comparison. The same year, in 2011, Roger Dahl all of a sudden stood down in the tree line. Without his dogs. Elisabeth offered him a ride, but he wanted to wait for Gorm Engen who had 14 dogs. A bit lower Elisabeth found Roger’s dog team. They hadn’t gotten far before the sled had tipped over. Edland stopped her own team, ankered Roger’s team and waited. After not long Engen came along with his hitchhiker. Mr. Finnmarksløpet was happily reunited with his dogs, and they could all continue towards Levajok.