Arctic Race of Norway 2013 turned out to be a wonderful summer memory, a dazzling souvenir to bring out during autumn, winter and spring. And with the return of the light in Northern Norway, expectations for the second edition of this bike race grow higher. A bike race? In fact, we are dealing with something much larger. This event contains something for all of us. Cycling enthusiasts will no doubt be pleased to sign up for this year's Arctic Race of Norway Challenges, before they follow at arm's length or live on TV the professionals as they fight for the stage win and the ARN 2014 trophy. But regardless of people's interest in cycling, the Arctic Race of Norway represents a golden traveling opportunity. Those living in the south, east and west of Norway may pay a visit to friends and family in the north. The hosts on their hand are only too happy and proud to showcase Northern Norway at its best. - How nice of you to come! Of course, the guest room has been made ready and we have just put on the kettle ! You can feel it's in the air, the joy of finally being at the centre of attention.
I recall the girl from 2013, dressed in Norway's national costume, sitting four hours on top of an old bus shelter, waiting patiently for the cycling circus to pass. When the world finally came rolling, the situation was caught by a photographer touched by the motive's perfect composition.
Another memory is the band of colleagues that had decorated their company building facade, proudly wearing the same cycling jerseys and in the mood of creating an epic cycling/summer/staff party.
The female rock band, having set up their instruments in the nearest roundabout, playing for both cyclists and spectators, also puts a smile on my face when I think about it.
Moreover, I was happy to see the habitants of the local nursery home who, with the aid of thoughtful nurses, were brought out in wheelchairs. With blankets covering their knees and with tiny Norwegian flags in their hands, the seniors contributed to the event in their own way.
This popular celebration, driven by the force of the see and be seen-effect, is shared by organisers, spectators and host municipalities alike. It is the result of a unique cooperation between French and Norwegian organisers, large and small businesses, counties and municipalities, sport organisations and volunteers, in addition to local, regional and national authorities.
Crossing boundaries of geography, politics and society, the Arctic Race of Norway comes out as an event that truly transcends a traditional sports competition.
In the following texts we will seek to reflect upon the different aspects of the ARN, including images from its 2013 edition. I know that many have great expectations for year two of the Arctic Race, considering that the North Cape will be conquered on August 14th and that a big finale will take place in the Paris of the North – Tromsø – on August 17th. And those are just some of the highlights this year...
When people ask what the Arctic Race of Norway is, there are several possible answers.
It is a top class international sports event. It invites you to a gigantic North-Norwegian summer party. It is a great international TV event and therefore also an effective tourism campaign. It may also represent a pleasant personal training objective. Perhaps it spurs a long due family reunion or a prosperous local community café. It shall in any case create an arena for creating values, in more than one sense.
And it is, as a total event, a fantastic signal project for both Northern Norway and Norway as a whole.