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Project Horizon // Perrine Fages

Das Project Horizon erzählt einzigartige Geschichten inspirierender Menschen, die sich in unvorhersehbare Situationen begeben. Menschen, die sich keine eigenen Grenzen setzen. Die es schaffen, sich von alltäglichen Pflichten und Normen zu lösen und ihrer Leidenschaft nachzugehen. Diese Menschen nehmen uns auf ihre ganz individuellen Reisen mit und zeigen uns, dass Abenteuer überall auf uns warten, wenn wir dafür bereit sind. 

Mit dabei in unserem Project Horizon Team ist Perrine Fages. Die Französin ist leidenschaftliche Ultra-Ausdauerathletin und liebt sportliche Abenteuer – so bereist sie die Welt zu Fuß, mit dem Fahrrad oder schwimmend. Dabei ist sie immer wieder auf der Suche nach neuen Herausforderungen.
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"Adventure gives me a sense of vitality, intensity, energy and most importantly the deep connection with nature."

Blickt man auf die letzten Jahre zurück, bemerkt man schnell die Begeisterungsfähigkeit der 40-Jährigen. Erst 2015 hat sie mit dem Radfahren begonnen. 5 Monate später absolvierte sie bereits ihren ersten Ironman. Es folgte ein Dutzend weiterer Ironmans, 2018 qualifizierte sie sich für die Weltmeisterschaften auf Hawaii. Seitdem sucht sie ihre Herausforderungen in den Ultra-Distanzen des Ausdauersports, vor allem im Triathlon und dem Radsport. 2018 gewann sie die Bikingman-Serie, bei der sie im Rahmen der Ultra-Radrennen ohne Unterstützung von Außen einige der beeindruckendsten Landschaften der Welt durchquerte.

"When I did my first self-supported ultra-cycling race I realized that I could ride my bike anywhere in the world, by my own... and it opened the door to the infinite."

Ungefähr zur gleichen Zeit entdeckte Perrine ihre Liebe zum Trail Running. Seitdem hat sie bereits zwei OMAN by UTMB®, den TDS, den Diagonale des Fous und den SwissPeaks 360 absolviert. Abseits ihrer Ultra-Abenteuer ist Perrine Anwältin und lebt und arbeitet in Qatar. Im folgenden Gastbeitrag berichtet sie von ihrem diesjährigen spontanen Bikepacking-Abenteuer in Norwegen.
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Last summer, I was stuck in Europe. I live in the Middle East but because of COVID, I wasn’t able to go back to Qatar after my expedition in Siberia at Baikal Lake earlier in march. So I spent the summer with my parents in the south of France and decided to make the most of it.

After several cycling and running adventures in France, I accepted to join a relay team to swim across the English Channel. Perfect training for my solo swim (non-wetsuit) next year. I started to train in the Mediterranean Sea but I realized that it would be great to do some training sessions in cold water before heading to the UK. My adventure partner Steven Le Hyaric and I decided to go to Norway. To the Lofoten Island, to be precise. It has always been a dream of mine to go there because it is the perfect destination for trail running and swimming.

We found flights to Tromso and just a few hours before heading to the airport we decided to take our bikes because there was no car rental available (at a decent price). So, instead of a swimming trip, we decided to do a bike packing trip, covering around 1200 km in less than a week. Since I really wanted to swim and trail run, we chose a way (including one ferry) to shorten the distance but fully experience Norwegian nature. 

We unpacked and prepared the bikes right at the airport at 8 pm and decided to go as fast as possible to the Lofoten. We then wanted to take our time to go back to Tromso by taking a different route. The first night was amazing – our first bike ride under the midnight sun. Nearly impossible to describe. The sun was bright  golden sunshine  then all in pink and suddenly it was sunny again. It was a tough ride. We expected the route to be flat but it was hilly and the hot weather made it even more exhausting. But it was worth it, we saw many deers and other animals. The nights were so quiet, it was magical. 

The next evening we finally arrived at Svolvaer, a city of Lofoten Island. The coastal and mountain scenery became more and more beautiful. One of the most spectacular places to explore. I managed to do a couple of dips in the cold water (around 10 degrees Celsius). Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to properly swim (too cold, even if it looked extremely warm for Norwegian people) but it was a good way to acclimatize.
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We did a couple of hikes and arrived in Reinebringen. Speechless, amazing, stunning, I don’t have words to describe the midnight sun at the top of Reinebringen and another one at the beautiful island of Senja (seal trail). Another highlight of the trip was to sleep at Kvalvika beach. It is a short technical hike to get there. We were so used to taking our bikes with us, that we didn’t really think about how exhausting it will be to carry them along the way. It took us two hours and demanded the utmost of us. But it was worth it.
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To summarize I would say that our bikepacking trip through Lofoten Island was a lifetime experience. Every corner you find is an incredible scenery. Quiet roads, small fjords, mountains, lakes, impressive nature, postcard views, nice camping places, fishing villages, and the midnight sun experience. It is every cyclist's dream because you can just ride all night long without even noticing it. In the past, we always rode as fast as possible but this time, we just wanted to explore Lofoten Island.

After all, 2020 is the year of the most unexpected things and we learned to enjoy the unplanned. We felt like the luckiest people in the world, especially in those difficult times.

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