I am Euroloppet Champion

DSC_0362Done.

In 2007 when I achieved my Worldloppet Master title, I decided to go for the “smaller brother” – Euroloppet Champion. Now, 8 years later, it is done. I just received my Champion medal, crystal plate, badge and diploma.

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Euroloppet: (Marxa Beret) & Vuokatti Hiihto

IMG_0005_2This year I had planned 2 Euroloppet Marathons: Marxa Beret and Vuokatti Hiihto. Marxa Beret is the largest ski marathon in Spain, it takes place at the end of January/beginning of February in north Spain near the Andorra’s and French border. Vuokatti Hiihto takes place in northern Finland mid/late March.

Marxa Beret

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Armenia

IMG_3439

Welcome to Armenia!

Since Risto had to work during the day I decided to take two days and visit a neighboring country – Armenia. It was even easier because just a month ago Estonia signed visa-free travel with Armenia. So Risto’s secretary found out that there will be a “Marshrutka” – a small minibus – going from Tbilisi to Yerevan (the capital of Armenia) 1PM and after sending out some e-mails in the morning I took a taxi to the station.

The Marshrutka was fully packed. I sat at the backseat together with 3 other guys, two of them had obviously eaten a lot of Hatšapuri in their lifetime. Continue reading

Georgia

Risto posing proudly in his car. As an attentive reader sees, the right light needs changing.

Risto posing proudly in his car. As an attentive reader sees, the right light needs changing.

My friend Risto has been working in Georgia (the one very very far from Atlanta) for 3 years and he’s been inviting me to visit him ever since. As he is leaving the country already this summer for a more interesting place, I decided to use the last chance and make a quick visit to Tbilisi. Continue reading

Euroloppet 2/8: Apkart Alaukstam (Latvia)

The track

The track

Yesterday I skid my second Euroloppet marathon – Apkart Alaukstam in Latvia. Apkart Alaukstam is a 42 km race where you ski two laps around Alauksta lake in free style. By the way, if you are wondering why there are so many 42 km races in Euroloppet, Estoloppet and other, then the reason is simple – the organisers have been inspired by the marathon distance in running. Obviously, it is much easier to ski 42 km than to run the same distance, so ski marathon organisers try to get back by giving impossible-to-pronounce names to marathons – Jizerska Padesatka, Birkebeinerrennet, Bieg Piastow just to name a few. Apkart Alaukstam is so far my favorite in this list.

Alarm clock was set to 4:50 AM this time, but I was awake long before that. Continue reading

Euroloppet 1/8: Biela Stopa (Slovakia)

At the start

At the start

On Saturday I skid my first Euroloppet marathon – Biela Stopa in Slovakia. Euroloppet is a series of long-distance skiing races. Unlike in Wordloppet, all of their member marathons take place in Europe. I achieved my Wordloppet Master title (you have to ski 10 different member marathons, at least one of them outside Europe) in 2007. At the end of the last year I decided I will also go for the “smaller brother” title of Euroloppet – Euroloppet Master. To achieve that I need to complete 8 different Euroloppet races in less than 10 years. Biela Stopa in Slovakia was my first marathon in achieving this feat.

We went there with my father, having both registered to the main distance – 45 km freestyle. Friday morning 3:30 AM my alarm clock rings, 20 minutes later my father picks me up and we start driving to Tallinn airport. Continue reading