At the beginning of July Team Firstbeat participated the biggest annual adventure competition in Finland, the Rokua Geopark XTREME 24h Challenge. The idea of the race is to complete the track including several challenging tasks as fast as possible but following the given instructions and maps.
The competition began on Saturday morning at the city of Oulu with the first tracks to be performed by running, swimming and roller skating. After the prologue at the urban environment Team Firstbeat started canoeing down the river Oulu towards a wilder environment to face rough riverbeds and rappelling in a beautiful Finnish summer night. After twelve hours of racing it was time to start mountain biking in Northern Ostrobothnian paths, swamps and duckboards. Choosing the right routes and keeping up the steady pace helped Team Firstbeat improve their rank during the night and arrived to breakfast successfully. After the breakfast, at the break of dawn, the race continued for a couple of more hours towards the Rokua competition center. At the rugged scenery of Rokua there was still left a marathon length of orienteering, roller skating, running and diving. After 30 hours and 28 minutes the team finally reached the goal.
Team Firstbeat accomplished the 220km route without any mistakes and was finally ranked the 13th out of 25 teams. The body’s physiological reactions were monitored carefully before, during and after the competition. The energy expenditure of one man during the whole competition was 12 500 kcal and approximately 70 000 steps were taken. The most interesting thing was found from the night time stress and recovery charts: the autonomic nervous system had actually recovered surprisingly well even though – or because – the overall load was massive. For example the quality of recovery reached the value of over 200ms and new personal records on Recovery Index were made.
In this kind of challenges against the nature and one’s own mental and physiological endurance, it’s not about the destination but the journey. Having the objective clear in one’s mind, motivation, humor and cooperation between the team mates, healthy and functioning musculoskeletal system and right kind of nutrition before and during the race are at the end much more important than the maximum oxygen uptake which is generally considered as the indicator of good aerobic fitness. Whatever the sport, challenge or goal is, it should never be more important than yours or your team mate’s health. This weekend showed that everyone has potential and resources when they believe in themselves and in each other. As Friedrich Nietzsche said, He who has a Why to live can bear almost any How.
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