Russians at Iceland’s Fossavatnsgangan
One of many russians taking part at the Fossavatnsgangan, Iceland’s Worldloppet race, was Alexander Pazhinsky. The Russian elite skier, who already won an Olympic silver medal (Vancouver 2010) & and a bronze medal at the World Championships in Oslo 2011, finished the Fossavatnsgangan 2018 as 2nd, behind his compatriot Ilya Chernousov. It seems like he liked his journey to Iceland:
“My first visit to Iceland happened this year in April when I came to compete at 50K Classic Fossavatnsgangan Loppet, which was a part of Worldloppet series. This island country located in the northernmost part of Atlantic Ocean immediately surprises with ever changing climate. In a few seconds the weather can change from wet snow with strong wind gusts to sunny and calm and then back! Of course the main reason to visit Iceland it is the nature of this beautiful country. It’s very different in various parts of the island and views and vistas change as fast as the weather. From northern fjords covered in glaciers and lacking any trees due to ice cold winds, and wild hot springs to southern forests, boulder fields covered in moss, world famous Blue lagoon with blue water and white rejuvenating clay, sea port of Reykjavik with picturesque streets of historical centre and towering neo-gothic Hallgrimskirkja church, powerful Strokkur geyser shooting boiling water 30 meters in the air, inactive volcanoes with beautiful crater lakes, massive gurgling Gullfoss waterfall. These and other places we had a chance to visit during our short stay in Iceland.
The main goal of our visit was the marathon and a satellite 25K race on the previous day. For satellite race weather showed the participants its full severity and forced each athlete not only to demonstrate physical strength but also mental toughness. But next day for the 50K marathon nature pleased racers and spectators with beautiful sunny weather, perfectly groomed hard packed and in some places icy course, and with breathtaking views of fjords. To be fare, in the middle of the race, while skiing in 3rd place position and cruising on the downhill, for a while I even forgot about the race and just enjoyed the beauty of Icelandic nature! It was my first time participating in the 50K loppet where the course is one big continuous loop and I think it is a great idea. I liked it a lot and I think it adds more pleasure to the race. I wasn’t even noticing tiredness because I was motivated by new views and vistas opening after each new hill and corner of the course! Also I really enjoyed festive and friendly environment of the Fossavatnsgangan Loppet.”