Team FJS - post race interview
I spoke with FJS team captain Johan Hasselmark about his experiences during the ARWC2006. FJS has been racing for a number of years and were looking forward to the ARWC in Sweden and Norway. Prior to the race FJS needed to find a replacement female racer and through AR contacts were given the contact details of Silvia "Shubi" Guimaraes. Shubi is an experienced racer in her own right and also a team captain. Johan explained that before the race they sat down as a team and talked about the expectations and ambitions for the race, agreeing that they wanted to acheive a top 10 finish and began building their team dynamic.
Johan Hasselmark All photos: Magnus Stenman
Johan described how the team grew in strength as the race progressed. Shubi brought a different strength to the team that was new to the existing members of FJS. Johan described that Shubi was a strong and self sufficient racer, was willing and capable of taking on roles and responsibilities in the team and was very fit and strong; and also carried her own gear.
Shubi at Red Bull Challenge
Johan described how racing with Shubi was a valuable experience for FJS. Coming from a military background, Johan described how FJS do not talk a lot during the race, rather they concentrate on moving foward and only really talk about race decisions. Johan described that Shubi would ask questions and communicate frequently with the team which was a different experience for the Swedes. Johan said it was a fantastic experience learning from Shubi and the team benefitted greatly from the experience, learning more about communication and developing the team culture at ARWC2006; something that Johan felt would be imporant for FJS in future races.
In terms of the race itself Johan was very pleased with the course and the team's performance. The team enjoyed the starting stages but Johan explained that the team's strength was in the longer stages. The plan was to take it easy on the first day, knowing that this was a long race. While they were surprised to find themselves at front early on, FJS were looking forward to the longer stages to show their strengths.
FJS at section D
Johan felt the FJS really started to settle into the race after the Red Bull Challenge. FJS were especially happy with the conditions on the first two days, saying that the slightly colder weather and light rain suited them. Johan described how Shubi was expecting to be cold during the race and that she was comfortable with a different climate to which she is accustomed. Johan said Shubi's attitude towards racing was a major strength for the team in this race. Johan's team ahd traversed the Oxtindan glacier section in a previous race and didnt find it as challenging as some teams, however he did say that the conditions and poor trail markings made navigation difficult, and the descent was very hard on the team's feet, something that all team experienced.
The team enjoyed strong stages after the glacier, especially the Seven Sisters. Johan admits that ocean kayaking is not the teams strength, and that they were keen to get the 90km paddle out of the way and return to their strengths; mountaineering and biking. At the end of the kayak, FJS had a speedy transition, staying only 20mins at Mellfjordan before departing for the Svartisen glacier. Johan described how much more impressed Shubi was with her second glacier experience on Svartisen.
After the glacier, FJS arrived at the GZ to collect their kayaks, they enjoyed the river kayaking section more than the ocean paddle and felt strong knowing there were less than 24hrs left in the race - and the team began charging. Johan described few problems in the caes given that the team had had some experience in the caves in this region in previous years. Johan described how he and Niklas experienced the worst "sleepmonsters" of their racing careers on the trek between the caves and the final gear zone, and again at the final bike stage. Johan described how he and Niklas struggled to separate the reality of the final hours of racing with the other tricks their minds were playing on them. To manage their sleep monsters, FJS had short power naps during the final bike ride to get themselves to the finish.
FJS at Red Bull Challenge recieving instructions
Johan explained that only hours of after the race the team was talking about how motivated they were to continue racing, he said that this was the best response he could have hoped for mentally, and that the team just needed some time for their bodies to recover. FJS also participated in the AR research testing and spent time at every TA testing with the researchers - Johan said the experience was valuable and looked forward to seeing their results in the future.
It was interesting to listen to Johan describe the support given to the team bu FJS given the teams military background. Johan talked about the similarities between the team's training and service in support of UN based operations and adventure racing; including the need to be self sufficient, need for planning and logisitical management, teamwork and being prepared for all conditions. Johan talked about how his military service and fuill time job as an officer assisted his training. Johan described how FJS were encouraging adventure racing amongst their officers as a lifestyle choice with the military as an incentive to attract people to join the army after completing their military service.
Next up for FJS is the Eco Motion in Brasil and the ARWC2007 in Scotland. We wish FJS all the best for their future races and congratulate them on their fantastic result, 8th place, here in Hemavan Tärnaby.