THE BALCK 2013 was as expected. A lifetime in a couple of hours with its ups and downs – seems soooo long when you are doing it but afterwards like a piece of cake.. The track was fine for us kicksledders but a bit too many cracks for skaters that were falling down often. Mika Jääskeläinen is back in top shape but fortunately such a big man in extremely windy conditions is quite easy to hang with (was there some wind??). Using all the technical, tactical and even mental power and the (too) long experience I could pass the finish line before him. Actually the KICK FRANCE jersey from Jan Vlasek and the boys that I was proudly wearing pushed me over the old man´s limits. And I also want to thank some other experts too who did think I would have absolutely no chance (Kaitsu).  The end time was a full one minute faster than in the first “Balck” back in 1991. Then the sleds were wooden and the men .. as now.hmm.

The brave ones at the start line. There is room for you for the next year!

The Kickspark is quite useful climbing to the podium!

t was a fight to remember. Just for fun – or what? Look at the KICK FRANCE jersey!

best kicks to you all! Hannu

It is time to prepare for the race of the races in Kuopio on lake Kallavesi. 100km on the ice is one of the most challenging kicksled events one can imagine. Racing such a distance on ice in the arctic Finnish winter requires both mental and physical toughness, but most of all extreme, specific muscle endurance that can only be achieved by kicking on ice – fast enough and long enough (unless you are “alpo”). Well, of coarse the only reason we keep on doing this crazyness is the feeling one gets in the sauna after the race with some beer..

See you at the start line – or at the after party in Hotel Puijonsarvi!

. Hannu

Mr Alpo after the 100km in 2004