Recently Toni Lund attempted the Iditarod Trail Invitational, a 1000 mile trans-Alaskan race in the harshest of conditions. Toni sent us a little recap and some photos of his experience. We’d like to extend him a HUGE congratulations for becoming the first Finn to cross the finish line in Nome, AK. We hope your Wo proved to be the perfect steed for your journey!
Words by Toni Lund, the ‘Extreme Bike Mechanic’ from Finland who works at Bikeshop.fi / Ajopyora that sells Kona bikes.
So, having done the ‘short’ 350 mile race in 2015, this year I attempted the 1000 mile monster to Nome for the first time, as the first ever from Finland and first with Kona Wo. This year’s race turned out to be extremely and exceptionally demanding as the race saw an awful lot of bad weather with close to ten blizzards, soft trails and lots of pushing. Out of the almost 27 days on the trail, there were only 3-4 sunny and calm days.
– My worst period in the journey was after McGrath (350 mile point) when I got sick with diarrhea. I spent 24 hours in Takotna to overcome it, but it struck me one more time after Ophir. Feeling really weak I still marched on in blizzard conditions and hilly terrain.
– The most dangerous sections were the passage of Rainy Pass with -10 F temps and -40 F windchill and similarly the Bering Sea ice crossing to Koyuk.
– It’s hard to say how much I pushed my bike but I think more than half of the complete 1000 mile distance.
– My 2017 model Kona Wo had zero issues and worked perfectly in the super demanding conditions. There were several soft trails that I was able to ride with Wo and it proved to be a very capable bike for the world’s longest and toughest winter ultra marathon. I had built my Wo myself and the only original component is the headset.
– I bivyed several nights under the sky and I needed to put on my best game with winter survival skills. Overall, Iditarod Trail Invitational 1000 mile is exceptionally demanding and a very dangerous quest. I finished with the time of 26 days 19 hours 18 minutes in 10th place.