Day 3 Karasjok to Lemmonjoki
Day 3 Sponsored by The Station Hotel Birstwith
The cold and tiredness has started to take its toll on both cyclists and the back up team. Everyone was quieter this morning and the usual morning banter took a little longer to appear. Thankfully the snow which had been expected had not appeared – we were all thankful for that one even though it was only 4 degrees.
The riders set off after a hearty breakfast towards the Finnish border – approximately 10 miles. The back up had a little time to wander around the Sapmi park adjacent to the guesthouse we were staying and see some of the traditional homes of the native folk. Reindeers were here too but we are quite blasé about them now.
Despite our earlier delight that the snow hadn’t arrived, as we passed the border into Finland it came – horrible and wet and the poor cyclists had a hill to climb – a nasty one which had several deceptive points where you’d think you’d come to the top only to find as you reached the brow there was more. Now we are thinking of the ride for the cyclists our perception of the area is very different. Back up were ready when they eventually got to the top with warm cars to sit in and hot coffee to warm them through. We were freezing so heaven help the cyclists.
As they set off again, we hit the road too. We travelled on for 10-15 miles along the very desolate, long, never ending road with nothing but trees and sleet! The cyclists were adamant they would be okay and didn’t want us to wait along the route, but we were getting worried for them as there was nowhere to stop then thankfully we saw a cafe sign and a then a few more after that so we began to feel happier knowing that we could carry on.
Nobody realised that Finland is another hour ahead of the UK so that caused us slight confusion. We passed more reindeer and even a solitary cyclist – it wasn’t just our crazy lot out there on the open road in temperatures of now 2.5 degrees!! There was a long stretch of roadworks to get through. No Health and Safety rules here – you just manoeuvre your way through any way you can with machines doing there own thing along the way. The roads are long and bleak with nothing much to see. The temperature kept dropping and as the back up arrived at our nights destination it was 1.5 degrees and persisting it down – a lot!! We made contact with the cyclists who were determined to battle on but we were ready with dry things just waiting for a call.
The team finally arrived dripping wet through, frozen and glum having had a horrendous day with temperatures hitting -1!! We were ready with a sauna organised, warm rooms and coffees followed by well deserved beer and Dan’s home made spaghetti bolognese. We rallied them on with tales of support from The Station in Birstwith who had now changed their flag to that of Finland in honour of the team as they pass through each different country and that they were now featured on the Instagram page of TeamARUK, the national page for all the sporting events in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK.
It’s been a rubbish day for all today but at least the back up team have had shelter from the elements. The cyclists have been absolute heroes today. I’m so very proud of what they are achieving for Alzheimer’s Research UK in memory of Dad. I’m sure that the charity and what they are doing this for has helped them to dig deep to complete the day. I know I’ve sat and thought about it and I also know that my Dad would be the first one there cheering them on. He’d definitely be raising a well-deserved Guinness to them tonight!! Make sure you all do too (and pray for better conditions tomorrow!!)
Lots of love and thanks for your continued support – it really is appreciated.
Footnote by Sean
I can safely say on behalf of all the riders that was the most difficult and challenging day of our lives. We did consider at half way if we could or even should continue. We are glad we did it is amazing how far you can push your limits if you believe in something so strongly.
Thanks once again to the back up team you did amazing! Also thank you to all those who put comments on Fb the encouragement got us through the day.
It can only get better.