If you're going to do something mad, it's best to go all in. Don't do it halfway, as it's not nearly as fun.

That's apparently what adventure rider and moto-vlogger Runa Grydeland was seemingly thinking when she decided to sign up for the world's largest enduro race with absolutely no enduro experience under her belt.

The event is called the Gotland Grand National, and it has taken place in Sweden every year for the past 40 years. While the pro event draws the biggest roster and crowds, some of the draw undoubtedly comes from the fact that anyone can participate in support races.

Now, to be fair, Grydeland does have a lot of advantages that most people don't have. For one, she lives in Norway, which has a functional and universal healthcare system if something goes badly wrong. For two, she's also got a whole host of sponsors on her side, ready and willing to supply her with whatever she needs.

From Husqvarna motorcycles to train and race on to all the gear she could want, there's no doubt that's a load off her mind in terms of preparation, and not everyone has those resources at their disposal. That's a fact she acknowledges in this video, as well.

Still, all the sponsors in the world can't wave a magic wand and give her the skills and confidence of someone who's been riding enduro all their life. That's the entire point of this video, then: If you've got the gear/bikes/time to train for a couple of months beforehand, can you do something this big?

Maybe. With all that other ancillary stuff out of the way, though, all that's left to worry about is you. In some ways, that could be the biggest hurdle of all.

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The Training Montage Is Awesome

Now, if you're trying to learn a new skill, what's the first thing you do? (I mean besides look up videos on YouTube to figure out if you should even attempt it in the first place.)

For most people, the answer is to get some training with a good instructor. Luckily, Grydeland was able to book some training time with Håvard Nevland, a Norwegian enduro rider who's been riding and building his skills in the sport since he was a child. He even won the prologue of the 2022 running of Red Bull Romaniacs, which is no mean feat. Could Nevland help Grydeland get up to speed on her skills in time for Gotland?

First, they do a few laps on relatively even, dry, grassy terrain to assess Grydeland's existing skills and identify the areas that need work. As it turns out, she does quite well carrying speed through corners. 

Seemingly impressed by how she's running, they progress to trickier terrain to work on clutch and gas skills. As greater challenges (uneven terrain, rocks, slippery and muddy areas, changing conditions) spring up, Grydeland falls plenty. But she always gets back up, and it's a whole lot easier to pick up her Husqvarna TE 150 than it is to pick up the Norden 901 she's had as her primary ride up to this point.

They eventually get to a point where it's time for Grydeland to learn how to wheelie. In addition to being fun, it's essential to learn how to lift the front up to have better control over the bike and be able to use that skill as the courses demand. Her first attempt ends up on the ground, but as she practices more, she improves. (And so can all of us, as long as we get back up!)

Additional enduro training with Nevland and his buddy Magnus, as well as a session at a local motocross track, and pretty soon Grydeland is competing in her first event. While not quite as intense as the Gotland Grand National, it's meant to function as a shakedown to make sure that the rider, her gear, and her bike are ready for the main event at the end of October.

It goes reasonably well, and Grydeland's matter-of-fact, calm nature seems like it must be helpful in getting through all the ups and downs of both physical and mental preparation for competition.

Finally, it's the big day, and time has a strange way of passing when something you've anticipated for so long finally arrives. It stretches on and on endlessly during some moments, before contracting and sticking to itself like a stubborn roll of tape in others. And then, almost before you know it, you find yourself on your bike and lining up at the start.

Grydeland wasn't hoping to place well; at this point, her main goal was to finish the Gotland Grand National. Ideally, she was also hoping to spend more time riding her bike than picking it up after an off. 

While past years have been incredibly muddy (seriously, some of the footage shown in this video from past years looks more like mud wrestling with motorbikes), 2023 wasn't too bad in that department. Which is good, because the natural limestone deposits in the area combined with lots of mud make things extra slippy when the rain buckets down. Fun!

All in all, it's a satisfying journey to watch. And seeing it, I can't help but wonder: If all the other obstacles (basic resources supplied, no worries about what happens if you get injured, etc.) were no longer in your way, what cool stuff could you potentially accomplish?

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