Riders and support team members gathered to Lahti 04 Feb evening. We made last cheeks for bikes, gears and had rider meeting where we clarified last things before ride.
Film and survival crew with MB Sprinter:
Project manager Harri Hjulgren
We went bed 22:00 and breakfast appointed time was 07:00 next morning. Most of us wake up 05:00 when county workers start carrying snow out from market square just opposite of our hotel so good by for good rest hours.
We had agreed to start 11:15 to Lahti Fair Centre where we will have some interviews and media appointments before the event.
STAGE 1 ( 217 km (135 ml))
STAGE 2 (238 km ( 148 ml))
STAGE 3 (246 km ( 153 mil))
After the Kajaani traffic gets less dense and riding was easier road was good covered with snow and ice really enjoyable to ride. We arrived to Kuusamo some ten minutes ahead of schedule fill up some bits of energy bar one energy gel sip of energy drink and we are ready for the road. What the hell Mika’s BMW 800 GS wouldn’t start battery was dead. I just rip off star motor cable cover of and we ask auxiliary power with cables I connected cables straight to star motor and that works Mika fire up Beemer and actually keeps her running until the finish. It was bit of hassle but we’ll make it and was still ahead of schedule so far so good.
STAGE 4 (137 km ( 85 ml))
Kuusamo to Kemijärvi 137 km ( 85 ml) in this stage we will cross Arctic Circle on north bound. The Arctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. In 2010, it is the parallel of latitude that runs approximately 66° 33′ 39″ (or 66.56083°) north of the Equator. The region north of this circle is known as the Arctic, and the zone just to the south is called the Northern Temperate Zone. The equivalent polar circle in the Southern Hemisphere is called the Antarctic Circle.
Weather was good just some light snow flakes coming down temperature -7 to -13°C ( 13 - 8 F ) is some slopes. Road was snow and ice covered and nice to ride on. In Kemijärvi we will reach halfway of our trip so we make longer stop in there. We ate some energy bar and energy drink and some even drink coffee there. There was also time to dry up your helmet and goggles with toilet’s hand dryer fan. Survival and film crew inform us that there will be national TV waiting us in Rovaniemi when we will arrive to Arctic Circle south bound and they want to make inteviews to news so why not. In Kemijärvi there where also some supporters waiting us. One old jab has been waiting three hours with camera to take photos when we arrive he was old biker and really want to see and talk to us. Nice to met that kind peoples.
STAGE 5 (78 km ( 49 ml))
Kemijärvi to Rovaniemi 78 km ( 49 ml) it was snowing slightly road was covered with snow and riding was really enjoyable. That stage was short but exciting we have already done half away and will cross Arctic Circle again and actually we where laughing that way south should be easier because it’s downhill…..We arrived to Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi and there was TV crew and some groups of peoples waiting and filming us. TV made they interviews and our film crew take photos Arctic Circle sign behind us. So we just went to gas station buy chocolate bar to get receipt and went off.
STAGE 6 (130 km ( 81 ml))
Rovaniemi to Kemi 130 km ( 81 ml) heavy snow fall starts just after Rovaniemi and visibility went to less than 100m (300 ft). There were some trucks still on the road and over taking was impossible our speed went down to 65 km/h ( 40 mil/h). Thank god we had gain some time earlier that we have still some 15 minutes on bank so if snow fall will continues long enough we will be in trouble. We were arriving to Kemi and our speed was been slow and there were lot of road works in Kemi with 50km/h ( 31 ml/h ) speed limits. During one of those road work detours I recognise some wobbling on front wheel and after looking the mirror see Jukka’s light’s going for all directions he fall down*. I turn around and all others where there all ready and survival team arrived. Jukka told that he’s right leg was numb and we should continue he will be OK with survival team so we went of and continue the challenge. We arrived to Kemi gas station fill up and take some bites of energy bar. My driving chain was way too loose and I tightening up the chain and we continued. We couldn’t lubricate chains at all because lubricant wouldn’t come out from the bottle it was to solid so that eats our chains and sprockets.
*Afterwards survival crew find out that there was 20cm ( 8") wide and 10cm ( 4" ) deep cut on the road what was on 45 degrees for direction of travel and Jukka told that front wheel went over the cut but rear wheel drop’s in to the cut and wave his rear to other direction and he handled that but correction steering was to hard and he fall down to other side.
STAGE 7 (256 km ( 159 ml))
Kemi to Pyhäjärvi 256 km ( 159 ml) it was snowing really hard and there was some 5 to 10 cm ( 2" - 4") of snow on the road all the time even more between the lanes and on the motorway left lane was covered with more than 10cm (4 ") of snow. That kind of conditions you should keep speed up over 80km/h (50 ml/h) but over team small bike 250cc couldn’t keep up the speed and riding was really hard and difficult. Also four a clock on the morning when your energy level is down and fatigue hits you will be naked. So it was really hard stage to everybody. Luckily snow fall stops just before Pyhäjärvi and we still have hope to finish this challenge on time. We made quick fill up stop in Pyhäjärvi take some energy gel and drink a bit and hit the road.
STAGE 8 (150 km ( 93 ml))
Pyhäjärvi to Hirvaskangas 150 km ( 93 ml) snow fall was over but there was some snow on the road that was okay. We keep up speed on the speed limit. Our schedule this stage was planed bit under the speed limit so we can gain some time. When approaching Hirvaskangas road was more uncovered tarmac with less snow on it but our tires will last no problem they had been design for that. There where quite many of our supporters on the bus stops to waving us five a clock at morning quite commit individuals they are waiting us to passing by that they can take photos WOW. On Hirvaskangas there was also Mika’s family and his mother offer us hot chocolate that was first hot drink since after breakfast day before we really appreciate her grateful concern. Our team small bike had some problems to keep up speed and that gives us unpleasant feeling should we leave him and continue with out or stay in one group?
My driving chain and rear sprocket was in really bad condition I just adjust chain so that it’ll be tight enough that it’ll stay on sprocket. There was only some lumps left of my so called rear sprocket.
STAGE 9 ( 130 km (81 ml))
Hirvaskangas to Heinola 130 km (81 ml) that last stage was really exciting and I was calculating all the time minutes that should we speed up with out small bike because he was only doing 65 to75 km/h ( 40 - 47 ml/h) and time window was closing fast. When we leave Hirvaskangas we had just bit less than two hours time left and every ten minutes we were loosing one minute that was nerve-wracking situation and I keep counting distance and time. Also my rear sprocket was one thing on my mind and I was riding really gently no any hard accelerations or engine brakes. Grrrr…..
Finally we arrived to E75 highway and only some km’s left. I knew all the time that we will make it on time but it was nerve-wracking after 23 and half hour. It was huge relief to see our last fuel stop and finish and all those supporters whom has come there to celebrate our achievement. We did 1639,8 km ( 1019 mil) (188.8.131.520 IBAF official 1614km ( 1003 ml) of Finland winter roads covered with snow and ice less than 24 hour.
We arrived in as one group fill up with lot of folks congratulating us and take our final receipt’s and that was it we did it. We just take cup of coffee fill final papers and make leek and we were heading to MOTO Show in Lahti.
When we arrived to MOTO Show there was huge number of peoples waiting us. We ride straight in to the main hall there was interview and interviewer was famous Leningrad Cowboys creator Mato when we manage to take helmets of there was microphone and lot of questions. Situation was bit absurd when you have been more than 24 hour on the road and just focused on riding and time window you are not prepared to give answers that are entirely understandable but I thing folks understands that. After we were dragged to the main stage and more questions and interviews we thanks’ everybody.
That was my first documented IBA IRON BUTT and lads told me that there is also some easier ways to do IRON BUTT but they told that afterwards they are real fellas
Thanks for ALL supporters, friends, families, relatives and especial our partners
RUKKA, FINTEKRA, LAJA MOTOGO, SATAPIIKKI, TAKATALO, SUMEKO etc.
It was our pleasure to cooperate with you!
Special thanks to our Project manager Harri Hjulgren and IBAF crew.