IGO Adventures – N60 Challenge, Norway
What a week that was! I have been the photographer as part of the IGO team for a while, so it was incredibly exciting to hit the first event; an adventure race (4 marathons in 4 days – cross-country skiing, fat-biking, ski touring and running) in the hills in the middle of Norway. The company was set-up by Bobby (Viscount Melville) and Sam Browne (who I had met in Nepal about 3 years before) with the aim of providing a significant physical challenge in a short space of time – for those “explorers” who can’t commit 6 months or so to a life-changing challenge.
And boy – it was a terrific week both in terms of the challenge, and in terms of the weather. We had expected -25 temperatures at this time of year, but a warm spell greeted us, and we didn’t get much below -5 at night. The high temperatures were fantastic for photography, but not so much for the competitors as the snow was soon rather soft – which to ski and mountain bike on was very difficult in certain places. This made the competition even more of a significant effort than it already was….and yet everyone pretty much completed the task. Blisters, sprains, and other injuries were dealt with manfully (or womanfully!) and I was hugely impressed with the spirit and drive of everyone on the teams – mind you, if you have set your sights own this event, you are not really likely to withdraw early unless there was a compelling physical reason to do so.
Photographing an event as wide-ranging as this leaves considerable challenges. The first challenge was solved by the use of a skidoo which I had for the duration of the competition – this really helped get ahead of the competitors to a decent vantage point for the shoots. The second challenge was a little more tricky, as I needed to capture most elements of each race…. the only way to do this was with a second shooter; and so with about 4 days to go before the event, we brought on board Mark Brightwell. Mark is a mountain leader and adventurer by trade, so he fitted in very well. He has also been on a number of my photographic adventures in the past, and I knew I could work well with him. In fact, it was a marriage made in heaven as well as being good friends, we were able to capture different places, or the same place with different lenses at the same time for a different feel (such as the start and finish points).
Technically, it was also great fun, although my lenses and camera bouncing around on a skidoo at 85 km/h was not ideal – some minor repairs in chain! I also took a couple of speed lights for some portrait work, which, with the scenery, was a good opportunity.
In all, a fantastic week with too many brilliant memories to try to capture here. The pictures, as always, sell the story better than I can!