Trans-Onego Kite Enduro - Toke 12 - 16th Feb 2014
Report by Klemet Store
After participating in Varanger Arctic Kite Enduro in Norway for many years, the Russians in Karelia invited me to this expedition-like competition and the experience on this big lake has been nothing short of amazing. Trans-Onego is a 3 day, 250 km long snow kite enduro race across the more or less frozen Onego lake (2nd biggest in Europe) for teams of two kiters. This year it is the third time that TOKE has been organized.
Before I decided to participate at TOKE I considered this as a big course-race and I tought my experience with long kite mountain races would do the job. I was badly wrong. During a competition like this, it is not a question about not making any mistakes, but rather to minimize the frequency of them and to avoid the big fuckups. Me and my teampartner Thomas Sørensen had to deal with all kinds of conditions; open water, water under the snow and hummocks and cracks in the ice. In TOKE I have sweared at the longest windshadow I ever experienced in the world. It could be a shadow stretching 2000 meter from only trees.
When the temperatures fall, the participants sometimes have to deal with two different wind-directions. Five meter from the ice, calmly southerly wind and above this, strong northerly winds. Our solutions was long lines and run like hell to get the kite airborne, up into the northern wind. Another new challenge was the long legs, up to 100km which burns heavily in the left foot, which is not comparable to mountain snowkiting. Due to the lack of use of the right muscles, the pain in the left feet gives the word “endurance” a complete new perspective.
The nerve wrecking feeling in the whiteout, by yourself for hours, when you realize that you are suddenly not alone – a rivalry team is coming on to your back as a pirate attacks you on the ocean. During these three days the race took place, we where fighting with the 6 teams in the lead. At the finish-line it was only five minutes between us and the team which reached second place; Team Windplanet Snowboard. TOKE was a beautiful journey into the white and blue horizon, with hummocks in all shapes and sizes. Like the north pole, but adapted for kiting. The best way to experience Russia in the winter.
I hope to see this concept of race in the Alps, with a local adaption.
To see the livetracking, as replay, go to: http://view.smarttracker.no
More pictures HERE