Xtrail – China, the ARWS race that was cancelled
Adventure racing is a thing that requires a lot from a person and from a team, not only in performing during the race but only getting to the start. Months of planning and preparing, time and money consuming. To get 4 people together to a race all at the same time is a challenge itself with jobs, money and family, which means we usually only manage 2 or 3 big races a year. Although each of those races get an intense focus.
This year we had chosen X-trail expedition race in June and ARWC which is held in November. The preparations for x-trail had gone well and now only the trip and race itself was still to come. We knew it would be a long journey, and after 2 flights, 1 train, 1 bus and 2 taxis we arrived in Altay, almost 3 days after we left Sweden. In the days before the race we tried to wake up our legs with some light training and also we had some serious race packing on our hands. Everything flowed well and our spirits where high, everybody in the team was healthy and strong and we felt ready to perform in accordance with our high ambitions.
Come race morning and this is where everything takes a turn. We wake up early to collect the maps before the race would start later the same morning, instead of receiving the maps we get a message that the race start is postponed and that we would get to know more later in the day. On the coming meeting we get information that there has been discussions with authorities about race permits and that a final decision would come in the afternoon. Later everybody gathered for the final decision when the race director came walking up with tears in his eyes... we all knew that the race was cancelled.
An indescribable feeling of disappointment. All the time, effort and money that we put in to this race and also the anticipation of performing in the sport that we love, all of that just goes in to nothing. Neither did we even get to know a real reason for the cancellation of the race. The racing area was highly controlled by the police and bordered to Kazakhstan and Russia so speculations about the real reasons where running wild. The fact remained that we would not race and instead make the same long journey home.
We did manage a good training session biking to and climbing a 2500 meter peak which was truly beautiful and spectacular.
With X-trail cancelled we started looking for alternate races and eventually managed to fund a starting fee for Nordic Islands Adventure Race which is held in Sweden in August. The first Swedish ARWS race in quite a few years.
The team is getting excited again and it will be really nice to race a multiple day race in our home country for the first time! [Photos by Jana Julian Photography]