Twenty-eighteen in photos

A little late in the game, but here's one photo (and some memories) for every month of 2018!

Norway will remember 2018 for the epic winter. In January, I set out with a group of friends to attempt the longest ski of my life, from Gjøvik to Oslo. I ended up bailing, but still had a pretty magical and challenging weekend. This photo is of Vibeke, showing the beautiful, but freezing cold, landscape that we skied through.

February was another frigid month, and Audun and I spent a weekend in Rondane, where there weather was beautiful but there wasn't quite enough snow. This picture is from the top of Veslesmeden, looking out at the ridge that leads to Storsmeden, which I would traverse during the summer.

In mid-March I migrated to Tuscon, Arizona for a month, where my parents were spending a year on sabbatical. Audun and I spent five days bikepacking the 250 mile Coconino loop - check out the full story here! This picture is from the Lime Kiln trail between Sedona and Cottonwood. We had spent hours winding our way through gnarly trails in Sedona, and I was happy to find some speed on smoother trails.

In April, I PR'ed in the 10K for the first time in 2018, running 40:10 in dusty conditions at Sentrumsløpet in Oslo. It was a close, but no cigar kind of day - I was hoping to go sub-40 and 10 seconds short felt disappointing. Still, the PR was celebrated with grilling and a jump in the Oslo fjord. In October I would get my revenge on the 10K distance, running 38:43 at Hytteplanmila.

May was positively summery in Oslo, and I revelled in many long runs in the expansive forest areas around the city. Despite many great memories from those runs, the strongest memory is crossing the finish line at Ecotrail 80K after having lead the race nearly from start to finish. This pictures captures the feeling so well - giddy with happiness, but also so tired, so overheated, so glad it's finally over.

June was all about Xreid Jotunheimen. Xreid is unique in that the course is completely new every year, so I decided to spend a weekend reconing the course. This photo was taken at the end of a very long training day. The 35 kilometer section of course I had to run had turned out to be closer to 40 kilometers. What you can't see from the light in this picture is that it is nearly 10 pm. At this point I'm more than a little nervous - and rightly so - about what Xreid will put me through.

In early July I turned in my PhD dissertation, and promptly took off to the mountains to run for two months. Audun and I spent a week on Norway's west coast. This photo is taken on Hornindalsrokken, which was a mountain that I spotted while crewing at Hornindal Rundt. Nothing would do but I climb to the top.

I spend a major chunk of August in the Alps, and ran the Tour du Mont Blanc in the excellent company of Pål, Knut, Hanne Marthe and Fredrik. This photo is from Italy, and I love it both because of the amazing view and also because of how destroyed Fredrik is.

In September I put all of the vert of the summer to good use, and went for the win at Ultra Tour Monte Rosa Three Passes 100K. Mom and Zoe travelled with me to Switzerland to crew, and Zoe took this photo of me coming into the aid station at Macugnaga. It's midnight, and this was my Jim Walmsley moment, blowing into the aid station like I was running a 10K.

Ah, October, the month I defended my PhD. I won't attempt to describe the mixture of emotions that I went through in the weeks leading up to the defense - the photo of the month is about the relief. Two days after my defense, I made the seven hour drive from Trondheim to Oslo alone. To break up the car time, I stopped in Alvdal, picked a random mountain, and ran up it. The sun was shining, there was a dusting of snow on the summit rocks. I was euphoric and felt utterly free.

In November, I took a (very much needed) vacation week in southern Spain. Audun and I went on what I would call a rather moderate bikepacking adventure through the Sierra Nevada mountains. Moving through the vast landscape by bike, I finally felt all of the tiny muscles that had been clenched since my defense release.

In December, Audun and I went on a ski trip to the Norefjell mountains. Although the conditions were far better than 2017's Blefjell snow-storm and postholing epic, the second day was super windy. This made for dramatic photos, if not for great skiing.

Here's to just as many adventures and memories in 2019!

- The Wild Bazilchuk