This is the leg!

FL-1000: Robert Sørlie about the leg from Neiden 1 to Kirkenes.

Written by: Ole Martin Jøraholmen/transl. Elisabeth Simonsen
Date: 12.03.2012 09:17

With its 125 kilometers the leg from Neiden 1 to Kirkenes has been the longest in the race for quite some time. After Kirkenes the track turns back to Neiden 2, and continues towards the finish line. This year Finnmarksløpet has decided to turn this around. The new length is now 75 kilometers. Hopefully this will make more teams choose to pass Neiden 1 and take their mandatory 16-hour rest in Kirkenes. This is good news for prized musher Robert Sørlie from Hurdal, who believes this new route will be good for the competition.  

A happy Robert Sørlie resting in the sun. Photo: Kjell O. Brun

-If more mushers go straight to Kirkenes it will be a closer race. Now there are two real options; either to rest in Neiden and pass Kirkenes, or go to Kirkenes to rest there for 16-hours, he concludes. Sørlie has most faith in the second alternative. – You distribute your resting better if you take it in Kirkenes, but this far into the race you need a strategy for distributing resting hours towards the finish too.

The prized musher from Hurdøl describes the track towards Kirkenes as very good, despite a lot of rough weather on this stretch. – By experience I know that the track towards the checkpoint in Kirkenes can offer all sorts of weather. There are big variations, and often you can experience the entire weather scale at the same time on this leg, whether it being snowstorms and wind or clear sunny skies. The worst thing with this leg is without a doubt the length: - When you are halfway through the race it starts wearing on the dogs, Robert tells. While he still sees the good in the situation: - You realize that things are moving along because you are getting closer to the trip back towards Alta. It’s hard and the dogs are tired, but you can look forward to the long rest.

LAST: Robert has chosen to go straight through Neiden 1, which means he will probably take his 16-hour rest in Kirkenes.