Leki Presents EO Scholarship to Team SweDan
Bend Racing and Leki-USA are pleased to award the International "Young Guns" award to Team SweDan.
Led by 23-year-old twin sisters, Sanna and Lina El Kott Helander, the team is comprised of 3 Swedish and one Danish member—hence the clever Swe - Dan name. Most of the team is relatively new to the sport of expedition racing, but they are incredibly accomplished athletes.
Primarily trail and ultra runners, sisters Sanna and Lina have added multisport events to their schedule and are ready to break onto the Adventure Racing World Series stage. They live and train together in the small mountain village of Åre, Sweden, and both love hills. "The steeper the better." If that is the case, they will certainly love the first mile of Expedition Oregon. Although no one would ever call it "trail running.”
Joining them is Swede Mikael Nilsson, who says he was "born into the sport of orienteering." Also in his 20's, Mikael has been racing navigation based running events since his late teens. Mikael admits to favoring shorter 10k style events but has recently been inspired by his friend Johan Hasslemark, who participates in expedition events as a member of the world-ranked Swedish Armed Forces Adventure Team. We are thrilled to watch this navigator test his precision as he leads his team up and over the Cascades.
The team is anchored by veteran Danish racer, Lars Bukkehave. Racing AR for the past 13 years, Lars has competed against members our BendRacing/YogaSlackers team in some of the world’s biggest races. His vast experience will be crucial to helping the rest of the team put their fitness to good use over the 300km course. Although he has not actually met any of his teammates yet, he is optimistic, "I have seen their fast running results, and that they seek out adventures. We will be a young team, but I can add some experience."
The team clearly wants to be competitive, and we certainly consider them to be a contender for one of the podium positions. Although with the way the field is shaping up, there are going to be many strong teams vying for those spots.
EO SPECULATION STATS
These are all full time athletes here and they'll go out for the win. But most of them are less established team racers, so that may factor in.
Lars' 13 years helps will help this green team, and he will have many tools to keep them going through the invariable "low points" that come in every expedition race.
We trust Scandinavian orienteers almost as much as we fear Kiwi ones. This team will find its way.
Local Edge: 20%
They are used to training in the hills— both Bend and Åre are ski towns!— so that will be good, but this crew is about as far from Oregon as you get.
Winning Liklihood: 15%
We give this team a solid "Dark Horse" chance of surprising us all.
MEET THE SPONSOR
LEKI seeks to offer the ultimate, highest-performing products with passion and a highly qualified, long-term, and experienced workforce. They operate under one strategic mandate: To combine safety and comfort with attractive design. The permanent exchange with experts and professional athletes ensures a high experience value. With over 250 patents, LEKI has introduced more innovations and filed more patents than any other manufacturer in the outdoors and ski industry.
LEKI's unique development started as a result of the founders' personal dissatisfaction: Karl Lenhart, an avid skier himself, was less than impressed by the quality and functionality of the ski poles of the time. Therefore, he used his own machine park to manufacture grips and baskets for skiing poles. These went into mass production in the 60s. On the other hand, Lenhart was familiar with aluminium and composite processing on account of his aircraft manufacturing experience. In 1970, he used these raw materials to produce his first ski poles to be sold under the LEKI brand, which stands for the owners and the company headquarters, i.e. Lenhart in Kirchheim.
LEKI's products are developed and designed together in Kirchheim/Teck, Germany and Tachov, Czech Republic. Poles are manufactured following modern and environmentally friendly processes in LEKI's own production facility in the Czech Republic.